Friday, November 23, 2012
Saturday's player to watch: DT Hill
By Josh Moyer
Everyone will closely watch Mike Hull and Matt McGloin, but who else should play a critical role in Saturday's game? NittanyNation ventures outside the box against Wisconsin.
This week's impact player: Jordan Hill, senior defensive tackle
He's still limited in practice with a left knee injury, but he'll try to play through the pain on Saturday -- especially with his backup, James Terry, listed as "day-to-day." Hill is a player to watch because he's faced with a tall order against Wisconsin and the key to the game: Stop Montee Ball.
Even with the combination of him and Devon Still last season, the Badgers' tailback rushed for four scores and 6.4 yards a carry. Ball is a bruising back who loves running up the gut, and Hill will have to clog the interior for Penn State's defense to experience any kind of success.
In three of Wisconsin's four losses this season, Ball rushed for less than 100 yards. That's not a surprising pattern, and Hill will have to set the tone for this defense to ensure Ball doesn't spring for more than five yards a touch. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz went out of his way this week to praise Hill, but the emotional senior will still have his hands full Saturday. Wisconsin's three interior linemen all weigh between 313 and 338 pounds, and Hill is likely to see double-teams if he experiences any kind of early success.
Hill has a lot working against him here, but he sounded like a determined individual Tuesday -- and he could have a lot to do with a Penn State victory. If he doesn't step up or loses the battle in the trenches, it could be a long day for the Nittany Lions' defense.