TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama tailback Trent Richardson got his big chance against Penn State last season. Could this be Silas Redd's turn for Penn State?
Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was sidelined with a knee injury, leaving Richardson to carry the load for the first time in a big game. He came through bigtime.
Now Redd and the Nittany Lions get a rematch Saturday against the second-ranked Crimson Tide and its now-unquestioned No. 1 tailback.
"It was one of the biggest games of my life," said Richardson, who had 144 yards rushing and 46 receiving. "I knew it was going to be big for me because Mark was out. I knew they were going to count on me. I knew there were going to be ups and downs and that it was going to be a fight. And I know it's going to be just like that this weekend.
"I know them boys want revenge, and they are going to bring everything they have, they are going to throw everything they can at us."
And at Richardson. Both teams have some uncertainty at quarterback and tailbacks thrust into the spotlight after replacing star runners, and neither defense yielded much on the ground in their openers against questionable competition.
At Penn State, the sophomore Redd needed just 12 carries to produce 104 yards - 94 in the second quarter - and two touchdowns against Indiana State after replacing school career rushing rusher Evan Royster.
Richardson ran for three touchdowns - and only 37 yards - against Kent State. Both teams divvied up the running duties in easy wins, leaving this game as much more of a litmus test for the new starters.
Redd will face a defense that gave up minus-9 yards rushing in its opener. Richardson encounters a defense at Linebacker U that yielded 65 rushing yards last weekend.
Coupled with the inexperienced passers, the tailbacks' emergence could set the table for for a vintage, smashmouth game for these two storied programs.
"They're a big, physical team," Alabama defensive end Jesse Williams said. "I think we go out there and play, we have some big physical guys on our defensive line as well. We should try and manhandle them up in the front."
Neither back was a big question mark entering this season. Richardson gained more than 1,400 yards the past two seasons, while Redd ran for 437 yards and averaged nearly 6 per carry as a freshman.
Now with the Washington Redskins, Royster even predicted that his successor would break his own rushing record.
Teammates don't seem to worry much about being the lead back bothering Redd.
"Very humble guy, he's got a very good head on his shoulders," fullback Michael Zordich said. "He's going to be able to handle it just fine. He's a good kid, comes from a good family. He knows how to handle it."
Richardson has been handling the hype since his arrival on campus. He has even been mentioned as a potential Heisman candidate even though he's never been a fulltime starter until now.
Penn State defenders are certainly familiar with him.
"He's definitely an elite running back in college football," defensive tackle Devon Still said. "He's going to be tough to control Saturday. But we've been practicing hard ... and going against a running back like Silas Redd (who) I think is going to be one of the best running backs in the country, that kind of prepares you to go out against a running back like Trent Richardson."
Still said the Nittany Lions didn't do a good job swarming Richardson and wrapping him up last time.
"He was able to break through a lot of our tackles," he said. "We've just got to focus on getting everybody to the football and play that Penn state defense we know how to play."
AP Sports Writer Genaro C. Armas in State College, Pa., contributed to this report.