Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Big Ten players tournament, Game 3
By Brian Bennett
The NCAA men's basketball tournament has officially begun, but we've got our own March Madness going with our Big Ten players tournament.
Today we're tipping off the third of four first-round matchups between Big Ten standouts from the past 15 seasons. As a reminder, each Big Ten member is limited to one entry, and candidates must either have won Big Ten MVP honors or a major national award.
Voting for this matchup will take place until 9 a.m. ET Friday. And away we go ...
No. 3 seed Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska DT, 2006-09) vs. No. 6 seed Braylon Edwards (Michigan WR, 2001-04)
It's a battle of contrasting styles here, as one of the most dominating interior linemen of the past decade squares off against a guy who terrorized Big Ten secondaries most of his career.
Suh was very nearly unblockable in 2009, recording 85 total tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and 10 pass breakups -- simply amazing numbers for a defensive tackle. He won the AP Player of the Year award for that season, as well as the Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards and the Nagurski and Outland trophies. He was also a Heisman finalist, which is nearly unheard of for any kind of lineman. He also led Nebraska in tackles in 2008. The Huskers have been searching for a defensive lineman of his caliber since he left Lincoln, but really, guys like him come around maybe once in a generation.
Edwards was the first receiver in Big Ten history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and just the third to do so in FBS history, and remember, this was before the spread offense inflated everybody's offensive stats. He holds just about every Michigan receiving record and had 97 catches for 1,330 yards as a senior. His 39 career touchdown receptions remain the most in Big Ten history. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2004 as well as Big Ten offensive player of the year honors. He finished his career in style with three touchdown catches in the Rose Bowl against Texas.
It's your turn to vote on this showdown of superstars on offense and defense. Send your rationale here and we'll include some of the best responses in our post announcing who made it to the semifinals.