CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A day after their teams landed in the national championship game, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis spent Monday night playfully talking trash in a hotel ballroom.
They left with Dorsey holding the upper hand -- for now.
Behind his 64 tackles and six sacks, Dorsey beat out Laurinaitis to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's top defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
"We've got to go at it," explained Dorsey, who has 11½ tackles for a loss despite being hampered by a sore knee late in the season. "We met over the summertime at the Playboy All-America thing. We got to know each other then. It's going to be interesting. It's going to be fun."
Dorsey unseated Laurinaitis, who last year became the first sophomore to win the Nagurski. Laurinaitis has put up gaudy numbers again this season, with 103 tackles and five sacks while anchoring the nation's top defense.
The two will vie for other awards, too, and Laurinaitis is looking forward to spending more time with one of his obstacles to win the national title.
"It's going to be fun to poke at each other about it," Laurinaitis said.
The other three finalists were Virginia defensive end Chris Long, who has 14 sacks; South Florida defensive end George Selvie, who has 14½ sacks and Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, who has four interceptions.
Perhaps fittingly, Dorsey was late for the predinner photo op, receiving jeers from Laurinaitis and the other finalists when he finally showed. LSU was late getting into the title game, too, after losses by West Virginia and Missouri on Saturday left the Bowl Championship Series in chaos.
Dorsey and the Tigers found out Sunday night they had moved up to No. 2 in the BCS standings despite triple-overtime losses to Kentucky and Arkansas.
"I'm just excited about it. It's an honor to get an opportunity to play for the national championship," Dorsey said. "There are a lot of teams who deserve it just like we do. I'm just grateful and thankful we have the opportunity we have."
While Dorsey and Laurinaitis traded barbs while wearing tuxedos Monday night, Laurinaitis believes LSU was the right choice to be the Buckeyes' opponent on Jan. 7 in New Orleans.
"If you look at their two losses, they were against teams that had true Heisman Trophy-caliber guys playing their best games," said Laurinaitis, referring to Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden and Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson.
While the arguing over who should be playing for the national championship will continue for weeks, Dorsey and Laurinaitis are headed to Houston Wednesday for the Lombardi Award announcement.
"We'll be keeping in touch," Dorsey said, before breaking into laughter. "I'll be seeing a lot of him."