- Associated Press - Thursday, September 9, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, ALA. (AP) - Barrett Jones was 5 months, 2 days old the last time Alabama and Penn State played.

He doesn’t remember the game, but the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s guard has become fairly well versed on a rivalry that has featured memorable kicks, great defenses and a goal line stand that is a significant part of ‘Bama lore.

“I can’t speak for everybody on the team, but I really feel like I appreciate the history of the game,” said Jones, born on May 25, 1990. “I feel like this is really something special. You go into an old Alabama restaurant _ which there are many of them across the state _ and you see old games playing. And a lot of times you see Alabama-Penn State, and it’s great to be a part of that rivalry.

“Maybe one day they’ll be showing our Alabama-Penn State (game) on the TVs.”

Saturday night’s showdown will be televised.

The Tide and 18th-ranked Nittany Lions face off at Bryant-Denny Stadium in their first meeting since 1990, renewing a rivalry that has produced some classic moments and monumental games.

Jones knows about the biggest of them all. “The goal line stand in ‘79.”

In a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2, Alabama’s Barry Krauss upended running back Mike Guman at the goal line to preserve the Tide’s 14-7 win in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1979. It gave second-ranked ‘Bama a national title.

Defensive back Don McNeal had knocked Scott Fitzkee out of bounds about a foot from the goal line on the second-and-goal play before that.

“Can I ever forget it? I don’t want to ever forget it, I really don’t,” said McNeal, a great uncle of current Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden. “I had covered my guy in the end zone on that play, I saw he made the throw and just reacted. I hit him and took him out of bounds. My roommate Curtis McGriff said, `Don, that’s one heck of a play you just made.’ I didn’t realize that. I was just playing football.”

Krauss was the one immortalized. Penn State assistant athletic director Fran Ganter, running backs coach for that ‘79 team, knows that from his last Tuscaloosa trip.

“We went into the building, and the first thing we saw was a mural of Barry Krauss stopping Mike Guman,” Ganter recalls.

The first four meetings included Hall of Fame coaches Bear Bryant of Alabama and Penn State’s Joe Paterno _ an assistant in the 1959 game.

Much has changed in the two decades since the teams last met, when Penn State’s defense dominated the game. The Nittany Lions picked off five passes and recovered a fumble in a 9-0 win in 1990. Alabama managed just 6 yards rushing, nearly 200 below its season average.

Paterno recalls Alabama agreeing to play a home-and-home series, something other Southeastern Conference teams were reluctant to do.

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