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Oct. 31, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Penn State senior DT Devon Still (Wilmington, Del.) has been named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented annually to the nation's defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club.
A first-team Mid-season All-American, Still has been a significant force as the anchor of Penn State's talented and productive defense. For the season, the co-captain ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten with 15.5 tackles for loss (minus-72) and is second on the team and seventh in the conference with four sacks. With 47 tackles, including 25 solos, Still ranks fourth among Nittany Lion defenders and also has registered one fumble recovery and a pass break-up.
Last Saturday, in Penn State's 10-7 win over Illinois, Still recorded a career-high 10 tackles and tied his career-high with 3.5 tackles for loss. His previous career-best in tackles was seven against No. 2 Alabama earlier this year and against Florida (also had 3.5 TFL) in the 2011 Outback Bowl.
The former Howard prep standout helped hold the Illini to seven points and 296 yards, well below their season averages of 28.6 ppg and 417.1 ypg entering the contest. Penn State forced a season-high four turnovers, as Illinois became the sixth team to score 10 points or less on the Nittany Lions' Top 10 defense.
Still headlines a Penn State (8-1, 5-0) defense that is among the nation's elite units, ranking in the Top 10 in four of the primary categories. Penn State leads the Big Ten and is No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense (12.4 ppg)., No. 10 nationally in total defense (282.3 ypg), No. 8 in pass defense (170.4 ypg) and No. 4 in pass efficiency defense (96.37). The Nittany Lions also are No. 24 in rushing defense (111.9 ypg), tied for No. 7 with 22 turnovers forced and No. 6 with 14 interceptions.
The Chuck Bednarik Award was established in 1995 and is presented in honor of linebacking great Chuck Bednarik, a member of both the College Football and NFL Halls of Fame.
Penn State football student-athletes have won the Chuck Bednarik Award four times, more than any school in the nation: LaVar Arrington in 1999, Paul Posluszny in 2005 and 2006, and Dan Connor in 2007. Aaron Maybin was a Bednarik finalist in 2008.
Three finalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on November 21. The winner of the 2011 Bednarik Award will be revealed as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on December 8. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 2, 2012.
No. 16/15 Penn State is idle this week and hosts No. 9 Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) in a huge Big Ten clash on Nov. 12. The kick time and TV are to be announced. The Cornhuskers host Northwestern Saturday before traveling to Beaver Stadium for the sold out Senior Day clash. Penn State and Nebraska will play annually as protected cross division rivals.