STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Redshirt junior defensive tackle and Wisconsin native Rob Windsor helped Penn State make a statement in its 22-10 win over Wisconsin on Saturday.
It began when head coach James Franklin and the defensive line led the Nittany Lions from the locker room and into Beaver Stadium. It was a first for the group since they typically are the last ones to enter the field.
"It was a statement. That's what I think it was," said Windsor, a native of Fond du Lac, Wis. "It was a statement letting them know that our D-line was going to run the game."
Indeed, the defensive line finished the game with five sacks and six tackles for loss against a Wisconsin team that had allowed an average of just 3.1 tackles for loss, tops in the nation, going into the game. Windsor accounted for two sacks, a career high, for a loss of 13 yards and two tackles for loss for another 13 yards. He finished the game with six tackles, five of them solo, another career best.
Franklin said that Windsor represented his home state as the team's defensive captain for the week.
"We knew this game was going to be important for him," Franklin said. "Rob played extremely well today. He had two sacks and did some really good things, so we're excited about that."
Windsor's first sack came late in the third quarter, on third-and-5 for the Badgers, when he took down quarterback Jack Coan for a loss of five yards to the Wisconsin 25. His second sack, for a loss of eight, occurred during Wisconsin's final possession when the Badgers had a first-and-goal from the 10.
Defensive end Shareef Miller said Windsor's energy was contagious to the rest of the defense.
"We feed off the energy," Miller said. "When someone makes a big play, we feed off of that."
Windsor said this game proved a lot about the Nittany Lions' defensive line. It was going against one of the best offensive lines in college football.
"Personally, I think we get under-looked," Windsor said. "I think we are one of the better D-lines in the country, between Yetur [Gross-Matos] and Shareef Miller on the edge and me and Kevin Givens in the middle."
With two games left in the season, Windsor has a total of 30 tackles, 15 of them solo. He also has a total of eight tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks accounting for a total of 74 yards. Senior Nick Scott said Windsor is a big-energy guy to begin with. But playing against people he knew brought it out even more.
"He was of course juiced up," Scott said. "He played extremely well and repped out for Wisconsin. We were just happy we were able to give him a win so he could have a sense of pride and feel like he's here for a reason."