O'Brien, Mauti earn ESPN.com honors

Bill O'Brien was named ESPN.com's Coach of the Year, and Michael Mauti earned a spot on the accompanying All-America team.

O'Brien's award comes on the heels of an improbable 8-4 season in which he helped pull together a university reeling from unprecedented sanctions. The coach quickly gained the loyalty of his players, and his offensive mind helped PSU overcome the loss of 10 offensive starters and the transfers of Silas Redd and Justin Brown.

Another reason this Penn State team stuck together was Mauti, who was often called the heart and soul of the defense. Mauti said he'd run through a brick wall for O'Brien, and opposing running backs often felt they had to run through a brick wall to get past Mauti.

The fifth-year senior finished with 96 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 11 games. Even when he became seriously injured, he still attended team meetings and his teammates honored him by placing a "42" sticker -- Mauti's number -- on the side of their helmets against Wisconsin.

Including Mauti, five players were also named to ESPN.com's All-Big Ten team.

Sophomore wideout Allen Robinson, tight end Kyle Carter and center Matt Stankiewitch represented the offense, while Mauti and defensive tackle Jordan Hill were selected on defense.

Click here to see the All-America team, and click here to see the All-Big Ten team.