STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State might have a new head coach and defensive coordinator this year, but at least one thing hasn’t changed about the defense.
Seniors Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are upholding the program’s “Linebacker U.” tradition headed into Saturday night’s showdown with No. 9 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten).
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill leads the push up front for the Nitany Lions (5-2, 3-0). End Deion Barnes has emerged as a pass-rushing threat as a freshman. The secondary is playing better following early-season trouble on third downs.
But the beating heart of the Penn State defense lies at outside linebacker, where Mauti and fellow senior Gerald Hodges form one of the country’s top one-two punches.
Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer calls Mauti a leader on a loaded Nittany Lions defense.