University Park, Centre County—Linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) has earned his first Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honor after a dominating performance to lead the Penn State defense in a 34-24 win at Northwestern last Saturday.
Hodges shares the conference honor with Purdue's Kawann Short. He is the fourth Nittany Lion honored this season by the conference, joining quarterback Matt McGloin, cornerback/kick returner Chaz Powell and kicker/punter Anthony Fera (twice).
Hodges' 14 tackles were the most by a Big Ten player this past week. He led a defensive effort that kept Northwestern off the scoreboard in the second half for the second consecutive year.
Hodges combined with DE Jack Crawford (Longport, N.J.) on a sack in the first quarter and then delivered the Nittany Lions' season-high seventh sack on Northwestern's final possession of the game.
Hodges' tackle total was the most by a Nittany Lion since Chris Colasanti had 18 vs. Illinois last season. His previous high was 11 hits in the win at Indiana on Oct. 1. Hodges had 10 tackles by halftime vs. Northwestern.
For the season, Hodges leads Penn State with 58 tackles (35 solo). He is second on the team with 8.0 TFL (minus-27) and tied for second with 3.5 sacks. He is tied for 11th in tackles in the Big Ten.
No. 21 Penn State (7-1, 4-0) hosts Illinois (6-2, 2-2) in a critical Leaders Division clash on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will air on ABC (ESPN2 in outer markets), the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
A limited number of tickets are available for the Illinois game. Tickets can be purchased at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.