Welcome to Week 9 of NittanyNation's power rankings, a top-10 list of Penn State players who are surpassing expectations, and who to keep an eye on.
After a rough loss against Ohio State, quite a few offensive contributors fell off the list. But some new players stepped up, and a few made big leaps on the list.
Whose performance left the biggest impression, and whose contributions were the most surprising? This week's top 10:
1. LB Gerald Hodges
Hodges was a big reason this defense was able to contain Braxton Miller in the first half, and he showed good pass-coverage skills, too. He's grown accustomed to playing in the shadow of Michael Mauti, but it was definitely the "Hodges Show" on Saturday. He came away with 14 stops, one sack and displayed a good motor. Hodges is a great linebacker, and sometimes it's easy to forget just how good he is on such a solid LB corps -- but he definitely reminded everyone Saturday. He had 10 stops by halftime.
2. LB Michael Mauti
No, he didn't force a turnover or boast a game-changing play Saturday -- but he did have an all-around solid game with 13 tackles. It's difficult to envision Mauti not making one of the top spots on this list. He's one of the top linebackers in the nation, and he never seems to grow tired. He can make plays from sideline to sideline, and he's one of the best players in the conference. Hodges outplayed him just slightly, but he's more than deserving of the runner-up spot here.
3. LB Mike Hull
Three spots, three linebackers? Absolutely. Hull has become a big-play magnet and had the biggest play of the first half. Three plays after sacking Miller, pushing the Buckeyes back near their own goal-line, he blocked a punt that Michael Yancich recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. That play alone earns Hull a spot on this list, but that sack and three solo tackles push him near the top. He showed that effort was no fluke; he certainly makes the most out of his limited time on the field.
4. TE Kyle Carter
Carter was the bright-spot on this offense. He ended up with a team-high six catches for 77 yards and a score. That touchdown grab wasn't an easy one, but he held on when he took a nasty hit from an OSU defender. He limped to the locker room with an ice pack on his left ankle, but he definitely flashed some toughness. Carter is on the Mackey Award list for a reason, and no offensive PSU player had a better game.
5. DE Sean Stanley
This lineman had as many stops (7) as Ohio State's two leading tacklers. He helped put a stop to Ohio State's running game in the first half and he even came away with a team-high 1.5 tackles-for-loss. This was one of Stanley's better games, and he definitely outplayed the combination of Deion Barnes and Pete Massaro.
6. DT Jordan Hill
No, he didn't get a stop in the backfield. But Ohio State didn't have a lot of success in the middle of the line, either. Hill had seven tackles, and all but one happened within five yards of the line of scrimmage. In other words, Hill's tackles weren't exactly easy, just-fall-upfield kind of tackles. PSU allowed a lot of rushing yards, but on designed runs with Carlos Hyde, PSU allowed just 2.5 yards per carry.
7. P Alex Butterworth
Forget that pass. Butterworth is a punter, so let's judge him on that. This was his best game of the season. Four of his five punts were booted inside the 20-yard line, and he even knocked one 58 yards. Butterworth consistently gave Ohio State tricky field position and, if not for that first shanked punt, Butterworth would have averaged more than 45 net yards a kick. That's saying something because, statistically, he's one of the worst punters in the country when it comes to net average. Butterworth was on a hot streak Saturday and he deserves a spot on this list.
8. CB/S Adrian Amos
Four of his five tackles came on runs, so it's not like Amos allowed a lot of catches and just stopped the receivers. He came away with a crucial interception and also broke up a pass intended for Devin Smith. Amos is one of the most athletic players on this team, and he showed Saturday what a good individual performance in the secondary can look like.
9. WR Brandon Moseby-Felder
Moseby-Felder came away with Penn State's longest play, a 42-yard catch that set PSU up for a score. If not for a holding penalty that forced a field goal, that could have been one of the key plays to the game. Moseby-Felder finished with four catches for 70 yards, and it seems as if he's surpassed Alex Kenney when it comes to a No. 2 WR target.
10. LB Michael Yancich
He recovered a punt in the end zone, and he's been a great special-teams player for Penn State this season. He may not grab another touchdown, so he gets a nod on this list. Like Hull, he's done a lot in the limited time he's seen this season. And Saturday's play should definitely be an individual highlight to his career.