Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nebraska's Suh Wins 2009 Outland Trophy

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (FWAA) - Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was named the 64th winner of the Outland Trophy on Thursday night, marking the ninth time a player from Nebraska has won the award.

The winner of the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior linemen on offense or defense in college football, was announced during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show from The Walt Disney World Resort.

Nebraska has had seven previous players win the award a total of eight times, including two-time winner Dave Rimington in 1981 and '82. Other previous winners from the school are Larry Jacobson (1971); Rich Glover (1972), Dean Steinkuhler (1983), Will Shields (1992), Zach Wiegert (1994) and Aaron Taylor (1997).

Suh also became the second player in three years to sweep the Football Writers Association of America's two primary individual awards, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Best Defensive Player) and now the Outland. LSU's Glenn Dorsey won both two years ago. The only other player to do so was Arizona's Rob Waldrop in 1993. Suh, who also has claimed the Lombardi Trophy, is one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy and could become only the second primarily defensive player to win that award.

This season, Suh led Nebraska in tackles with 50 unassisted and 32 assisted. He had 23 tackles for losses (12 sacks for 77 yards in losses), 10 pass breakups, 26 quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and three blocked kicks. In the 13-12 loss in the Big 12 title game against Texas last Saturday, Suh was credited with 4.5 sacks of Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy, seven total tackles for loss, a career-high 12 tackles and two quarterback hurries.

"We thought (Gerald) McCoy at Oklahoma was as good as we've seen in years," Texas coach Mack Brown said after the Big 12 Championship Game. "And Ndamukong did the same tonight. He was all over the place. And we just couldn't handle him. ... He is really, really good, and played hard all night."

Suh's sack of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter of the Cornhuskers' 27-12 victory over the Tigers in early October possibly changed the course of the Big 12 North season. Gabbert suffered an ankle injury on the play. Although he continued to play, his mobility was hampered and Suh also intercepted a Gabbert pass in the fourth quarter.

"The numbers he puts up and the things he does athletically at that size, he's a very dominant player," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "He's a great, great football player. I can't imagine a lot of other defensive tackles like him in the country. I'd like to see them."

The FWAA selects the Outland Trophy winner from its 25-man All-America team which will be announced on Saturday afternoon on ABC-TV at 1:30 p.m. ET. Suh was chosen as the recipient of the Outland Trophy over Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung and Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati.

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, a lineman at Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

The official 2009 award presentation to Suh will be Jan. 14, 2010 in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. Ohio State's John Hicks, the 1973 Outland Trophy winner, will also receive his trophy there.

Photo Courtesy of Dennis Hubbard