Windy conditions could influence game
DUBLIN – Former Purdue coach Joe Tiller didn’t invent the passing game, but he is often credited for helping modernize the Big Ten by bringing a good air attack to the conference.
Tiller said a few years back that only one weather condition has a major impact on the passing game. It’s not rain. Not snow. It’s wind.
For those who don’t know, Ireland is a very windy place. Everywhere you go, wind seems to follow. It can be light at times, blowing left to right, then switch to heavy and blowing right to left.
Penn State coach James Franklin was asked this week what kind of impact the wind will have on today’s game.
“None,” he said, with no further elaboration.
However, the forecast for today calls for 15 mph wind, with gusts up to 22 mph. The Nittany Lions have played in stronger wind than that, but almost always in a somewhat familiar setting on the road in the Big Ten.
The playing surface at Croke Park Stadium is massive – far bigger than a typical football stadium – and the wind swirls around inside. There’s also a 50 percent chance of rain, so couple the two together, and it could make for tough conditions for quarterbacks and receivers.
Wind also could have an impact on the kicking game.
If the contest comes down to a field goal, keep these stats in mind: Penn State’s Sam Ficken was 15-of-23 overall last year (only 10-of-17 from 30-49 yards), while UCF’s Shawn Moffitt was 21-of-23 (13-of-13 from 30-49 yards).
The Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland had a small eruption late Thursday night, but not enough to cause any concern for fans traveling back from Ireland following today’s game.
The volcano could have a major eruption soon, scientists believe, which might have a big effect on air travel in Europe. But Friday, the alert level was reduced from red (highest threat) to orange (second highest).
While talking about today’s football game, an Irish man said Friday, “I like American sports. But I can’t wrap me head around baseball.”