STATE COLLEGE, PA., SEPT. 12 -- Set down the name of Alabama's Bobby Humphrey high on the Heisman Trophy list, and make a note of the Crimson Tide as a team to be reckoned with. Humphrey established himself as one of the most dashing tailbacks in the land, and No. 19 Alabama followed along in a 24-13 upset of defending national champion and No. 11 Penn State tonight.

A crowd of 85,619 at usually unassailable Beaver Stadium watched Humphrey, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior, rush for 220 yards on 36 carries, including a 73-yard scoring run in the first quarter. It was the third-best rushing effort ever against the Nittany Lions and more than instrumental in the Crimson's Tide's victory, a big one for a team that suffered through contoversy and skepticism over the hiring of new head coach Bill Curry, who came from Georgia Tech with a losing record.

"Most people thought we'd lose this one," Humphrey said. "Maybe this will show them how great we can be."

Humphrey singlehandedly helped Alabama (2-0) to a 17-7 halftime lead that the Nittany Lions (1-1) never recovered from, also throwing a 57-yard halfback pass to set up Dave Smith's one-yard touchdown dive in the second quarter. Phillip Doyle added a 46-yard field goal in the first period.

"The way we made {Humphrey} look, they probably want to give him the Heisman right now," said Penn State linebacker Trey Bauer, a veteran of the national championship team.

Humphrey was the impetus behind an Alabama's decisive scoring drive that opened the fourth period. The Tide (2-0) drove 59 yards, a grinding affair through a light rain and mud, and Humphrey gained 38 of those yards before fullback Bo Wright scored on a 10-yard breakthrough. Phillip Doyle's extra point made it 24-7 with 12:28 left.

Penn State's only touchdowns came on long passes. With 1:13 to go in the first half, reserve quarterback Tom Bill connected with Ray Roundtree on a 21-yarder. The Nittany Lions did not score again until 6:05 remained in the game, when starting quarterback Matt Knizner hit Roundtree on a 60-yard play. The Lions missed the two-point attempt.

"This defies description," said Curry, who was 31-43-1 at Georgia Tech. "I'm very happy, very tired, very thrilled."

It was a revenge of sorts for Alabama, which had lost, 23-3, to Penn State last year, when the Tide was held to 44 yards rushing and Humphrey to just 27 yards on 12 carries.

"Maybe this came at a good time," said Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, whose team lost 15 starters from last season. "I'm not discouraged with this team. They just took a good licking from a team that played really well."

But the numbers looked discouraging. The Tide outgained Penn State, 403 yards to 338. Knizner was sacked five times for minus-36 yards, three times in the first half by Derrick Thomas, who replaced graduated linebacker Cornelius Bennett. That was so traumatic that it briefly brought on Bill, a sophomore whose most notable accomplishment had been imitating Miami's Vinny Testeverde in practice for the national championship game last year.

Knizner eventually completed 21 of 24 passes for 163 yards, Bill seven of 11 for 88 yards. But each gave up an interception and was overshadowed by Alabama's Dave Smith, who was the most efficient, even if he completed just seven of 14 for 49 yards. Penn State's ground game was restricted to tailback Blair Thomas, who gained 61 yards on 17 carries.

Humphrey's run came with 8:21 left in the first quarter on first and 10 on his own 27. Humphrey took a pitch right from Smith and slipped a total of six tackles on his way to the end zone.

"It was just a little sweep to the right," he said. "There was no daylight outside so I broke up inside. I made a couple of them miss me, and I was in the clear blue and the grass."

Doyle missed the extra-point attempt. That was unusually significant: it ended Alabama's run at 199, an NCAA record. But Doyle made up for it on the next series with his 46-yard field goal.

Humphrey was again the moving force on Alabama's second scoring drive, picking up 27 of the Tide's 46 yards. Added to the scoring run, that meant he rushed for 100 yards on just four carries.

With 8:22 left in the half Humphrey started another scoring drive -- this time in the air. On third and four at his 41, Smith took the snap and gave it to Humphrey, who drifted to his right as if to start around end. Instead, he pulled up and launched a fluttering spiral to flanker Clay Whitehurst, who had idled past linebacker Scott Gab and defensive back Brian Chizmar.

Whitehurst was in the clear as he caught the pass at the 15 and got to the 2 before defensive back Sherrod Rainge knocked him out of bounds. Smith snuck over from the 1 a play later to complete an 89-yard, 10-play drive.

Alabama then went for two, and a reverse from Smith to Humphrey to Whitehurst appeared to be going nowhere when cornerback Eddie Johnson strung the play out. But as Johnson hit Whitehurst, he flipped the ball toward the end zone and flanker Lamonde Russell made a diving catch to give Alabama a 17-0 lead.