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Thursday, December 10, 2009
Suh claims Outland and Bednarik awards

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh picked up back-to back-awards in a five-minute period as he claimed the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman and the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player.

Suh continued a Nebraska tradition, becoming the eighth Cornhusker and first since Aaron Taylor in 1997 to earn the Outland Trophy, beating out Russell Okung of Oklahoma State and Idaho's Mike Iupati.

In the process, Suh has been a part of a stunning turnaround in the Nebraska defense.

"It's been a tough ride but got some strong guys back there. My class especially has been through some kind of hell," Suh said. "But having a great coaching staff and great defensive gurus like (Nebraska coach) Coach Bo (Pelini) and (Nebraska defensive coordinator) Carl Pelini. We learned the best from them. We want to continue to improve and get better as we do through the year."

Suh said he hopes to represent all of the offensive and defensive linemen as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in New York City. He becomes the first interior lineman since Warren Sapp of Miami in 1994 to be nominated.

"That's a crazy feeling. I never expected it," Suh said. "After the Missouri game there was some Heisman talk. But I never expected to be there. I'm very proud of it. I talked to a couple of guys when I was at the Lombardi Award and hopefully want to represent those guys in the right way.

"All the guys up front -- the offensive linemen and defensive linemen -- I definitely want to be that person to represent them and happy to do it."

Earlier, Suh overcame Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody and Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes to become first Cornhusker and third Big 12 player to win the Bednarik Award.