The awards picture is coming into better focus after four games, and two Penn State players are off to good starts following the Nittany Lions' best game of the season Saturday.
Every week, NittanyNation will check in and update how some of its best players are faring on the awards lists. Penn State has five players vying for nine awards this season, and three of those five players are on defense.
No player really watched his stock nosedive after Saturday's performance, and a few slid up the charts:
LB Michael Mauti (Butkus): After four games, there's no longer an argument. Mauti is the best linebacker on the team and, in NittanyNation's opinion, the best in the Big Ten. He again led the team in tackles Saturday and forced a fumble. He's a team leader who's produced every single week, and he's well on his way to at least one finalist list.
LB Gerald Hodges (Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi, Nagurski): He's taken a backseat to Mauti, so his award stock has taken a considerable hit. He's played well, but he won't win any awards playing under the shadow of a teammate. He has 30 tackles to Mauti's 42 and has his hand in two takeaways compared to Mauti's three. Hodges is a considerable boost to this defense, but he won't find himself on any finalist lists at this rate.
WR Allen Robinson (Biletnikoff): The sophomore finally saw his name appear on the Biletnikoff Award watch list last week, and he's moved up the charts yet again. He's in the top-10 nationally in basically every statistical category: catches (29, t-9th), receiving yards (404, 8th) and receiving TDs (5, t-4th). Robinson made another critical catch Saturday, adjusting on a backpedal and hauling down a high pass for a 41-yard touchdown. Defenses will have to key in on Robinson soon, but if he keeps up this pace, he's a lock to be on the finalist list.
DT Jordan Hill (Lombardi, Outland): The senior has had a relatively quiet season -- but had a breakout game Saturday on the stat sheet. He finished second on the team in tackles (7), added a sack and forced a fumble. It was one of his better games, but he's still on the outside looking in when it comes to any finalist lists. Through four games, he has just one tackle-for-loss. He needs to get in the backfield more often to catch the eye of some awards committees.
C Matt Stankiewitch (Rimington): Penn State relied on the center a lot Saturday by sending two fullbacks-turned-tailbacks up the middle. It was no coincidence the Nittany Lions had their best rushing game running behind Stankiewitch. The quarterback sneak was also very effective, but the offensive line will have to play better as a unit for Stankiewitch to get noticed. The Rimington awards committee rarely names a winner who starts for a rushing offense that finishes below 50 in the country. Right now, PSU is No. 94.