- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
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With a majority of Penn State's games now in the books, the pretenders are starting to become separated from the true candidates.
Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are now both semifinalists for the Butkus Award, and Mauti is a strong contender to reel in the honor. But those two aren't the only players garnering attention from awards committees -- six Penn Staters are currently vying for nine awards.
Every week, NittanyNation will check in and update how those players are faring on the awards lists. Here's a closer look at where they sit this week:
TE Kyle Carter (Mackey): If the redshirt freshman put up Saturday's numbers every week, he'd be a shoo-in to be a finalist on this awards list. Carter led the team in receiving with six catches for 85 yards and moved up a few spots as a result. He's surpassed 50 yards on three occassions this season, and he'll likely appear on this watch list for most of his career. His nomination this season is only the beginning.
LB Michael Mauti (Butkus, Bednarik): Another game, another reason he's one of the best defensive players in the nation. Mauti came away with eight tackles, one sack and an interception in a dominating defensive effort against the Hawkeyes. Mauti remains near the top of these respective awards and could very well come away with at least one. He has had impressive stats this season, but those numbers still don't come close to highlighting his importance. He's this team's MVP, and he's already a lock to collect some conference honors.
WR Allen Robinson (Biletnikoff): One game won't ruin Robinson's chances to be a finalist, but he was already on the bubble to begin with. Clearly, Saturday's performance resulted in his stock taking a hit. He dropped four difficult-but-catchable balls, and he'll have to rebound strong to show he's an elite wideout. He needs a few impressive games to make his case in a league where other wideouts will pull down 100 balls.
LB Gerald Hodges (Bednarik, Butkus, Nagurski): Let's face it, with Mauti, Hodges isn't going to win any of these awards. The best he can hope for is advancing past a few watch lists. Hodges played well Saturday, but it wasn't reflected in his stats -- and that's not going to help his odds. He had just four assisted tackles and a pass break-up. These awards committees can't analyze every performance by every linebacker, so it's critical Hodges adds some turnovers and more tackles in future matchups.
C Matt Stankiewitch (Rimington): If the offensive line started off this hot, Stankiewitch could seriously be in the discussion for this award. He's definitely played well, but he remains a long-shot to be a finalist -- for one big reason. The awards committee usually hands the award to a center on one of the top rushing offenses, and Penn State is currently No. 77.
DT Jordan Hill (Outland): Maybe it was too early to completely write off Hill's chances a few weeks ago, but he's still not sitting pretty on this list. He started off this season slow and, although he's starting to make a comeback, it's likely too late. He boasted a team-high nine tackles Saturday, including two stops in the backfield, and was the defense's top player. The problem? Hill still only has four tackles-for-loss to his name this season, and that's not nearly enough to garner the needed attention.
17dMitch Sherman and Brian Bennett