Nebraska’s Suh has his Heisman moment

Big-12 Championship game features Heisman stud and dud

In the week leading up to the Big 12 championship game, I had a feeling the majority of Heisman Trophy voters were starting to lean toward giving the award to Texas quarterback Colt McCoy simply because he looked like the safest pick. He was the guy guiding the undefeated Longhorns to a possible BCS title game, he had a recognizable name, he played the quarterback position and he was one of the few preseason picks for the Heisman still standing.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the awards ceremony. McCoy messed up, didn’t play well in the Big 12 championship and didn’t have that signature Heisman moment. In fact, he stunk. Sure, Texas still pulled out a victory over Nebraska on Saturday night, but don’t give me the “McCoy still did enough on the last drive to win the game for Texas” line. No, because McCoy almost flat-out lost it with his poor time management at the end of the game, forcing senior kicker Hunter Lawrence to bail him out with a 46-yard field goal. Heisman winners don’t get “bailed out.” They make everyone around them better.

McCoy finished the game 20 of 36 passing for 184 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions and once again struggled to be decisive in the pocket any time he felt pressure up the gut.

Yet throughout his struggling performance, we still heard the ABC announcing crew routinely beg for that signature Heisman moment from McCoy. But it never materialized, as drive after drive ended with a three-and-out, a sack or an interception.

The reason McCoy never had his Heisman moment: Because the man with a big No. 93 on his chest, standing on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage, was Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

I wrote a piece in early November breaking down the reasons, from a pure statistical standpoint, why Suh should win the Heisman. I talked about the “poorer statistical seasons” being posted by this year’s quarterback and running back contenders, while highlighting the numbers Suh has posted compared to past defensive tackles who have been up for the award. My point was simply to say that because of the down year by the typical skill-position players up for the award -- paired with Suh’s dominating numbers this season – he should be this year’s winner.

It was a crazy theory at the time, and I never really thought a defensive tackle would actually end up winning the award. But you have to think at least some twinkling of a light went on Saturday night for Heisman voters when it was Suh who had his Heisman moment, which in turn kept McCoy from having his.

Suh was absolutely brilliant inside against the Longhorns, finishing with 12 total tackles, 4

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