- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
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Recognizing the best and the brightest from the Nittany Lions in Week 2:
Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones: Has there been a more dominant player on the Nittany Lions so far this season? I don't think so. Jones led the team in solo tackles (4) and was second in total tackles (9) Saturday, while he also finished with two tackles-for-loss and a sack. But those numbers don't even do him justice. Eastern Michigan couldn't run up the middle, Jones tore through double-teams, and the Eagles averaged just 1.7 yards a carry. Jones is a no-brainer for this honor.
The entire Penn State defense: OK, Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett might never stand for a selection of an entire defense here. But I just have to make an exception. It's almost impossible to pinpoint a single standout other than Jones. Nyeem Wartman came away with three pass breakups, but can you give him a sticker over middle linebacker Glenn Carson who led the team in tackles? Jones was the best lineman, but Deion Barnes contained the outside and did things that just didn't show up on the stat sheet. Cornerback Jordan Lucas tackled the holder on a field-goal attempt, but the safeties made sure no one came away with a big play either. This defense bent at times, but it certainly never broke. It played as a team, so it gets a helmet sticker as a team. (I guess Jones technically gets two stickers then ... but he deserves it. Who can argue?)
Tailback Bill Belton: Counterpart Akeel Lynch might have matched Belton's 108-yard rushing total, but Belton did it while the game remained close. On first-and-10 from the EMU 20, he rushed for 15 yards -- and then pounded it on the next play for a five-yard score. That gave PSU the 14-7 advantage. He also added a 20-yard run and 21-yard reception two drives later to help set up a field goal and put the score at 17-7. His contribution was critical to the win, and he flashed some speed he seemed to be missing last year. Belton looks to be a solid option for the rest of season.
WR Allen Robinson and QB Christian Hackenberg: Listen, one guy wouldn't have gotten a helmet sticker without the other. That's why they're a pair here. Hackenberg set a PSU freshman record by throwing for 311 yards, while Robinson pulled down seven catches for 129 yards and a score. Robinson got Hackenberg going with the long first-quarter catch that turned things around for his quarterback. And Hackenberg rebounded greatly after the first three drives. Robinson showed greatness; Hackenberg showed resilience. Give those guys a helmet sticker.
11dMitch Sherman and Brian Bennett