Big 12: Mike Iupati

Suh claims Outland and Bednarik awards

December, 10, 2009
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.

Okung, Suh named Outland Trophy finalists

November, 24, 2009
Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have been named among three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to college football's best interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of Amerca.

The other finalist named was Idaho guard Mike Iupati.

The finalists will attend the announcement of the award, which will come on Dec. 10 during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The show will begin at 7 p.m. ET.

Okung, a 6-5, 300-pound senior from Houston, has been rated as the top offensive tackle NFL prospect in college football. Heading into the regular-season finale against Oklahoma on Saturday, the durable Okung is slated for his 46th consecutive start for the Cowboys. He's a big reason why the 9-2 Cowboys' offense produces 203.5 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation's leader at the time -- including an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season.

Suh, a 6-4, 300-pound senior defensive tackle from Portland, Ore., leads Nebraska in tackles with 35 unassisted tackles and 30 assisted stops. He has 15 tackles for 52 yards in losses (6.5 sacks), 10 pass break-ups, 20 quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and three blocked kicks. A top NFL prospect, Suh heads up the nation's third-ranked scoring defense that has propelled the Cornhuskers to an 8-3 regular-season record heading into the regular-season finale at Colorado on Friday.

The Big 12 has featured two previous winners in its history. Aaron Taylor of Nebraska claimed the award in 1997 and Jammal Brown of Oklahoma in 2004.

Including its previous history, Nebraska has claimed the award previous a record eight times by seven different players. Previous Nebraska winners include Dave Rimington (twice), Larry Jacobson, Rich Glover, Dean Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Zach Wiegert and Taylor.

An Oklahoma State player has never won the Outland Trophy.

The official 2009 award presentation will be Jan. 14, 2010, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.