<
>
Insider

Power rankings: Michael Mauti tops list

Welcome to Week 2 of NittanyNation's power rankings, a top-10 list designed to show which Penn State players are surpassing expectations and which to keep an eye on.

After a rough opening week when few players impressed, Penn State rebounded by playing better -- but ultimate falling short in the 'W' column.

Whose performance left the biggest impression, and whose contributions were the most surprising? This week's top-10 list:

1. LB Michael Mauti

He's the heart of this defense, and Penn State didn't have a more valuable player on the field Saturday. He emphasized turnovers the week leading up to the game and came away with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also broke up a pass and finished with a team-high nine tackles. It seemed as if he was in four places at once, and there's no debate about this top spot.

2. DE Deion Barnes

The redshirt freshman made an appearance on last week's list but made a big move this week. He forced a fumble, had two sacks and is quickly making his case as Penn State's top pass-rusher. Only five players in the FBS have more sacks than him. (He has three.)

3. LB Gerald Hodges

Boy, does Hodges have a motor. He sprinted sideline-to-sideline on Saturday and finished second on the team with eight tackles. He also made a fumble recovery and committed virtually no mistakes. If it wasn't for Virginia's final drive, it might be fair to say the front-seven had a perfect game.

4. DT Jordan Hill

After a relativey quiet game last week, Hill rebounded by wreaking havoc on the interior of the line. Virginia didn't have an answer for the senior, and Hill had one play that's bound to make his highlight tape. In the second quarter, Hill raised his hands to deflect a pass -- something he emphasized in practice -- and ended up making a one-handed interception.

5. QB Matt McGloin

Some fans still aren't sold on McGloin, but we're not quite sure why. He doesn't have a rocket for an arm, but he's the glue keeping this patchwork offense together. He overcame an elbow injury and drove his team downfield for two touchdowns and five field goal attempts. He's a tough quarterback and the MVP on this offense. Without him, PSU would be lucky to score in the double-digits. He's progressing through his reads much better this season and he's making the right decisions.

6. DE Sean Stanley

With Virginia sporting two hefty offensive tackles, Stanely didn't draw one of the easier assignments Saturday -- but he still had one of the best performances. He disrupted the Cavaliers' running game, helping limit them to 1.3 yards a carry, and tied Hill for most tackles on the line with three. Barnes is making a name for himself, but Stanley's not too far behind.

7. WR Allen Robinson

Statistically he had a better game against Virginia than last week, but he committed two drops on back-to-back plays. If it wasn't for that, A-Rob would be near the top of the list. He still caught nearly half -- 10 -- of McGloin's 21 completions, and only four players in the FBS have more receptions so far this season. He made a nice, diving 30-yard grab for a touchdown and he looks like he'll be a very special player for PSU for the next three seasons.

8. TE Kyle Carter

When McGloin can't find A-Rob, he goes to Carter. The redshirt freshman showed good hands Saturday and finished with four receptions for 33 yards and a score. Carter already isn't far behind Andrew Quarless and has the potential to be one of Penn State's best tight ends of the 2000s.

9. C Matt Stankiewitch

PSU couldn't get a much of a run game going, but it was also using tailbacks who were third-, fourth- and fifth-string players in the spring. Other linemen had trouble picking up the blitz, especially around the ends, but Stankiewitch remained strong. He's the best offensive linemen Penn State has and is the most experienced player on the offense.

10. LB Glenn Carson

Carson was part of a dominant front-seven and finished fifth on team in tackles with five. Carson and Pete Massaro wrestled a tailback down behind the line of scrimmage, but Carson's most-memorable play came on special teams. On a fake punt, Carson scampered for 19 yards to cross over into Virginia territory. That play pushes Carson on this list and was the only special-teams bright spot Saturday.