O'Brien, Mauti and Hodges earn mid-season honors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and senior linebackers Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) and Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) have earned several honors as college football readies for the second half of the 2012 campaign.

In his first season as head coach of the Nittany Lions, O’Brien was selected Mid-season National Coach of the Year by BleacherReport.com, CBSsports.com (Dennis Dodd), ESPN.com (Gene Wojciechowski) and Sporting News (Matt Hayes). He also earned ESPN.com Big Ten Coach of the Year. O’Brien also is leading in Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year fan voting at coachoftheyear.com.

O’Brien’s Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0) have won four straight games and are coming off their bye week. Penn State visits Iowa (4-2, 2-0) at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Big Ten Network.

Mauti was selected a second-team Mid-season All-American by SI.com and Phil Steele’s College Football. He also earned Big Ten Defensive MVP honors from ESPN.com.

A 2011 first-team All-Big Ten selection, Hodges earned fourth-team All-American accolades from Phil Steele’s College Football at the halfway point of the season.

Also, Kyle Carter (Bear, Del.) was the lone freshman named to the John Mackey Award Mid-season Watch List. The Mackey Award is presented to the nation’s top tight end.

Mauti (Sept. 17 and Oct. 1) and Hodges (Oct. 8) have earned three of the last five Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, giving both “LinebackerU.” standouts three career weekly conference honors.

For the season, Mauti leads the team and is No. 4 in the Big Ten with 57 tackles (32 solo). He has recorded 2.5 tackles for loss (minus-29), 1.5 sacks (minus-24), two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups. Mauti grabbed two interceptions in the 35-7 win at Illinois, returning one for a school record 99 yards en route to Big Ten weekly honors.

A candidate for the Bednarik and Butkus awards, Mauti is tied for first in the Big Ten with two forced fumbles and tied for second with his two interceptions.

A candidate for the Bednarik and Butkus awards and the Nagurski Trophy, Hodges is second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten with 50 tackles. The 2011 first-team All-Big Ten selection also has 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a team-high three pass breakups.

Mauti and Hodges have been instrumental in helping Penn State rank No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 15 nationally in scoring defense (16 ppg) and tied for first in the conference and No. 14 in the nation in turnover margin (+ 1.17). The Nittany Lions also lead the Big Ten and are No. 17 nationally in Red Zone defense at 68.8 percent (11 of 16).

Penn State is back in action at Iowa on Saturday and then returns to Beaver Stadium Oct. 27 to face No. 7 Ohio State (7-0, 3-0) for a 5:30 p.m. kick and an all-stadium Penn State WhiteOut. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes are tied atop the Big Ten Leaders Division.

Tickets for the Nittany Lions’ remaining home games with Ohio State, Indiana (Nov. 17) and Wisconsin (Nov. 24) are available. Ticket purchases and information is available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or fans can call Penn State athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Pre-paid, single game parking passes for the general parking lots are $10 and available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets.

Penn State Athletics is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions) and Twitter (http://www.gopsusports.com/ot/twitter.html).

 

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Last Updated October 19, 2012