ARLINGTON, Texas - In order for Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to have a serious chance of winning the Heisman Trophy he had to do something more than special in Saturday night's Big 12 Championship game.
A down lineman has never won the Heisman before, but after Suh's performance against Texas the senior from Oregon made a legitimate case that he belongs in New York next Saturday night.
The 6-foot-4,305 pound Suh finished with a Big 12 Championship game record 4 ½ quarterback sacks to go along with seven tackles for loss and 12 total tackles. Quite frankly Suh was everywhere. Texas didn't know what to do and it was clear the Longhorns have not faced a player of his stature all season, as NU's defense held the Horns to just 202 total yards of offense.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy came into the game as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner and left being sacked nine times to go along with three interceptions.
"Yeah, we're best friends," McCoy joked after being hit by Suh so many times. "The guy is a playmaker.
"All night long Suh played tremendous. You've got to give their defensive line a whole lot of credit."
NU offensive coordinator Shawn Watson couldn't say enough good things about what Suh meant in Saturday night's football game.
Watson said there's no question he should be considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner after his performance in Saturday night's Big 12 Conference Championship game.
"If Ndamukong Suh is not in New York, something is wrong," Watson said. "There's a conspiracy somewhere. That's the best college football player in the United States of America. I don't care what side of the ball they're on. He's the best-the best.
"It's unbelievable what he did tonight. The stats and his play just speak for itself. The guy is phenomenal. That is the best football player in the country. He is. Not to be taken to New York would be a travesty."
Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini had similar words to say about Suh following NU's loss to Texas on Saturday night.
Pelini said he thought Texas was caught off guard by just how physical NU's defensive line was and they thought they could expose that going into Saturday's game.
"If Suh didn't win the Heisman tonight, it's a disgrace," Carl Peini said. "He's the best player in college football."
Texas head coach Mack Brown said after Saturday's win over the Huskers that the only other player that even compares to Suh is Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
"We thought (Gerald) McCoy at Oklahoma was as good as we've seen in years and Ndamukong Suh did the same tonight," Brown said. "He was all over the place and we just couldn't handle him.
"I tried to find him after the game to wish him good luck in the NFL, because I don't want to see him again. He is really, really, really good, and played hard all night."
NU head coach Bo Pelini, who typically doesn't get involved in debates regarding things like the Heisman Trophy also challenged voters on Saturday night to put Suh on their ballots.
Heisman ballots are officially due Monday afternoon by 4 pm CST through an online voting system for the first time in the award's history.
"I think he's the best football player in his position in the country," Pelini said. "If that means the Heisman Trophy, so be it."