'Bama fans praise hospitality
UNIVERSITY PARK - After talking with Alabama fans for a half-hour before the game, it was clear they were being treated with the same kind of respect, generosity and class that they showed PSU fans last year in Tuscaloosa.
Asked if the hospitality has been reciprocated, Reginald Hamner of Montgomery, Ala., said, "Wonderfully, many times over. The friendliest people. I was lucky enough to be here in '89, and I had the same hospitality then, and it's been extended this time."
As Hamner and his group were being interviewed, Penn State fan Brandon Wright from Bethlehem walked up to them and said, "Good luck, you guys."
That's just one small example of the mutual respect the fans showed each other.
"I've been talking to almost every group of Alabama fans that hasn't been talking to someone to make sure everyone's having a good time, make sure everyone's being treated well," Wright said.
"I hate Alabama for beating us last year, but today I have a new-found respect for Alabama fans. I had no idea that an SEC team could treat people so well and be so welcoming and be so humble. It's been a great day with a lot of great people."
Portage resident Tom Giles invited a couple of Alabama fans to join him at his tailgate.
"Years ago I was up here when Alabama came up here with the Bear [Bryant], and they always showed us respect, so we thought we'd pay them back," Giles said.
Wade Britton, who was born and raised in Alabama and now lives in Alexandria, Va., took Giles up on the offer to tailgate.
"We've had a good response so far," Britton said. "Most of the fans, they heard last year that they got a lot of good feedback from Alabama fans, and I think that respect is shared amongst the people at Penn State."
Bill Jones from Montgomery said he has never encountered anything but hospitality from PSU fans.
"We've played Penn State for years and years, and every time it's been just great," Jones said.
Alabama coach Nick Saban also had kind words for the PSU fans.
"This is a great atmosphere for college football," he said. "Their people were really classy today in terms of how we were treated here. This is what college football's all about."
Bolden takes lead in QB competition
Rob Bolden, who started for the second straight game, didn't take command in the quarterback competition as much as Matt McGloin played himself out of it Saturday.
Bolden completed 11-of-29 passes for 144 yards and one interception, plus he had several good throws dropped. McGloin, on the other hand, had a rough day. He was 1-for-10 for no yards, with his lone completion to Silas Redd on a screen going nowhere.
"I feel like I took advantage of most of my opportunities," Bolden said.
Bolden made his first road start at Alabama in week two last season and said he felt more comfortable this time around against the Tide.
"He's a lot better player now than he was a year ago in terms of his poise, his polish as a passer and his decision making," Saban said.
McGloin didn't look at all comfortable as he struggled just about every time he took the field. He came in for the first time late in the first quarter and was unimpressive in two first-half series, plus three more in the second half.
"I'm not sure," McGloin said when asked where he stands in the competition.
Asked if he was disappointed in his performance, McGloin said, "Any time you lose a game you always think you can do better."
One question asked of many players after the game was whether the two-quarterback system is hindering the offense.
"It's a little difficult," Bolden said of rotating. "I wish I could have just went back-to-back-to-back, but obviously I'm not the one calling it. It was Joe's decision."
Bolden later added, "If I was running things, I would be the only guy out there."
The team is now entering week three, and many players would like to see the coaches pick a starter and stick with him.
"I hope they do," receiver Derek Moye said. "We just want to move forward."
Tough break for Szczerba
Few players on the team are more appreciative of the opportunity to play football than senior tight end Andrew Szczerba, who missed all of last season with a painful back injury before undergoing surgery. Szczerba then suffered a minor head injury in the opener but was able to play against Alabama.
Szczerba made a key catch for a first down at midfield with PSU down 10-3 late in the first half, but he fumbled when hit by linebacker Dre Kirkpatrick. The officials initially ruled Szczerba was down, but replay showed he did fumble, and the Tide took advantage by driving for a TD that gave them a 17-3 halftime lead.
Szczerba wasn't available for comment, but Bolden said, "He's all right. He's a tough kid."
Green in trouble again
Joe Paterno said he had not been aware that running back Stephfon Green was involved in an incident in which he furnished alcohol to minors in July, which led to Green being charged last week.
Green was booted off the team in the preseason before being allowed back, and it was thought that his punishment stemmed from that alcohol incident.
"Now, all of a sudden, something else pops up, and it disturbs me," Paterno said.
JoePa reflects on 9/11
Paterno was asked by a reporter from New York to describe what today's 10th anniversary of 9/11 means to him.
"I don't think there's anyone in this country, that was old enough to know what was going on, that doesn't have a good memory of what happened," he said. "I still remember we were having a staff meeting - we were playing Virginia that week - and Mike McQueary came in and said, 'They bombed the trade centers.' I said, 'Awe, that's probably one of those things like the guy who said we were being attacked by Mars.'"
Paterno, who quickly realized it wasn't a joke, added, "It's a terrible, terrible thing to have to remember. ... You just don't erase that. I don't think anyone erases that."
News and notes
Penn State had won 23 non-conference games in a row at home before Saturday. The streak was tied with Florida for second longest in the nation. ... WR Curtis Drake saw action for the first time this season after suffering a broken leg in the spring. Drake, who didn't have a catch, missed all of last season with another leg injury. ... P Anthony Fera also played for the first time this season. He sat out the opener because of an off-the-field incident.
(Compiled by Cory Giger)