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Senior linebacker Mauti, a leader on and off field, driving Penn State's proud resurgence

Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti gets so intense sometimes, it looks like he could take on all 11 players on the other side of the ball at once.

The Nittany Lions' senior leader is playing the best football of his career, a role model on a team whose hallmark so far under new coach Bill O'Brien is passionate, every-second-counts intensity.

After an 0-2 start, these new Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) are on a three-game roll punctuated by their best performance of the season with last week's 35-7 thrashing of Illinois.

Just in time for a visit Saturday from No. 24 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0), Penn State's first ranked foe this year.

In describing his team's effort, O'Brien said players fly around as if "their hair is on fire every play."