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Penn State Football: Five Things To Look For At Rose Bowl Media Day

by on December 15, 2016 2:00 PM

For the first time since Penn State's thrilling comeback victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game James Franklin will speak to the media as the Nittany Lions prepare for a 14th and final game. The opponent, the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl a place where Penn State has won just once in three previous appearances.

With under a month to go until the January 2nd game here are a few topics to keep an eye on as Franklin addresses the press on Friday afternoon.

1. Breakout Players

It was Chris Godwin at the Pinstripe Bowl and to a certain extent Trace McSorley last year in Jacksonville. While the sample size isn't large someone unexpected has made a major impact in each of Penn State's two bowl games under James Franklin. Considering how many playmakers are already on the offensive side of the ball this year it could very well be a defensive player making a name for himself at the Rose Bowl. Is anyone poised to make that next step?



2. Health Issues

Aside from a quick plague of injuries along the offensive front Penn State has been for the most part, fairly healthy the second half to the season. With a few weeks between games for the first time since the bye week, this is a chance for Penn State to really rest up and get back to as close to full health as the team has been all season. It doesn't sound like anyone with a long term injury will be returning this year, but banged up players like Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley are likely welcoming the break with open arms and plenty of ice packs.

3. Internal Scouting

Maybe they won't be the player to turn heads in the Rose Bowl but bowl practices are in large part an excuse to do self scouting and get younger players more reps than they would usually get during the season. Penn State will add maybe two or three extra practices to focus on USC but the rest will be getting better at the little things. This is usually a good chance to get a better look at players who could make a leap into the rotation next season. Who is stepping up so far, or who are some of the guys taking advantage of this extra practice time?

4. Parallels With USC

Both teams started the season with a few bumps in the road, both have ended the year as two of the hottest teams in the country. It will be interesting to see what Franklin sees in USC that he sees in his own team, more importantly for the Nittany Lions, what he knows about being a hot team that they can use to their advantage to take down another team with just as much confidence.

5. Momentum

Along a similar lines an interesting aspect of this game will be both team's ability to continue the momentum they had at the end of the year. Can both go from a white hot finish to nearly a month without a game and still come out of the gates in Pasadena swinging? If one team is flat footed that could be all it takes for the other to win the game, then again all bets are off once this Penn State team comes out of the locker room for the second half.


Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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