Jalen Suggs lay on the U.S. Bank Stadium turf as victorious Rocori players celebrated their surprising and dramatic 22-21 Prep Bowl victory in overtime on Friday.
Suggs held his hands over his face, an image with which opposing coaches can relate. One of the nation's most coveted football and basketball players, Suggs always made a game's defining play whether as the SMB quarterback or safety.
He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Terry Lockett to put the defending Class 4A champion Wolfpack (12-1) ahead 21-14 in what turned out to be the first overtime Prep Bowl game since 2014. And he expected more good things even as Rocori, after responding to the SMB score with a touchdown, lined up for a two-point conversion try with the bulk of its players to the left of the center.
"I thought it was going to be a quarterback run and they came out in that formation," Suggs said afterward, hitting the table at the news conference three times with his right hand before adding, "We just went over it. I knew what was coming."
That gave Suggs an edge in situational awareness over Rocori quarterback Jack Steil, who had hit Jayden Philippi for a 15-yard TD on fourth down in overtime.
When the signal came from the sideline to go for two, Steil said, "I didn't even realize that it was to win or lose the game. I was in the moment and it felt like a normal situation."
Staying grounded helped Steil all game. A two-sport standout who has signed to play baseball at Nebraska, Steil produced 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns, a fumble recovery on defense and the passing TD in overtime.
Meanwhile, Suggs, who said he was "pretty much on my right leg" in the second half because of a bad left knee, turned in what his coach Chris Goodwin called a "gutty" performance: 153 yards passing and a touchdown and 70 yards rushing.
One play was left to be made. Suggs pictured it.
"The quarterback was going to roll right, he was going to put it right there and I was going to jump it, knock it down and go jump up in the crowd," he said.
Lockett said of Suggs, who had seven interceptions this season, "We wouldn't want anybody else but him to be one-on-one."
While Suggs got the tip of his right pinkie finger on the ball, Andrew Anderson made the catch. It clinched the first Prep Bowl title for Rocori (11-2) since 2011.
"I knew I had to go to my best wide receiver, and I trusted that he would make the play," Steil said.
"That's football, man," Suggs said. "I couldn't have played it any better."