Some Penn State thoughts and reflections before kickoff of the senior day clash with Wisconsin:
1. Weather could be a factor, especially the wind. Gusts are supposed to hit 30 mph throughout the afternoon and into the early evening.
Combine that with snow flurries and wind chills near 20 degrees, and we start wondering about that prolific Matt McGloin-led Penn State passing game.
Wisconsin? They just run the ball behind the NCAA’s all-time rushing touchdown leader and another guy who often looks just as good.
2. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill could barely keep it together as he hugged a row of family and friends after getting off the team bus upon arriving at the stadium.
Large helpings of emotion are expected, this being senior day in the most turbulent emotional season probably ever.
But will the Lions be able to use the pickup-adrenaline without letting it distract from their performance?
That will be one of the main goals for this team on the special day, especially in the beginning moments.
3. We heard about the possibly of wearing the No. 42’s on helmets earlier in the week to honor injured team leader Mike Mauti.
Interesting move since the team hasn’t had any numbers of any kind on the those white helmets in nearly 40 years.
It’s just another part of the extraordinary pregame celebration planned to honor these seniors, this team.
The seniors will be introduced along with their families. A “2012” is expected to be unveiled above the stadium suites — the place usually reserved for league title recognition — to commemorate this season.
4. How will Zach Zwinak hold up against Wisconsin … and himself?
The Badgers boast the Big Ten’s toughest run defense (yielding only 106.6 yards per game).
And though Zwinak has turned in steady, punishing rushing performances, he’s had consistent trouble holding onto the football.
Worse yet, three of the fumbles in particular were inside the opponent 10-yard line, just as the Lions were preparing to score.
The first-half fumble at Nebraska was potentially devastating as it cost a chance for Penn State to pull away in a game it eventually lost.