In the modern days, Nebraska football faithful have longed for a legitimate defense. Whether under Bo Pelini, Mike Riley, or Scott Frost, the Blackshirts underperformed, especially against big-time opponents. Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson destroyed the Husker secondary in the 2011 defeat, 48-17. More embarrassingly, No. 10 Nebraska fell to No. 6 Ohio State in 2016, 62-3.
The days of the infamous Blackshirts have seemed non-existent, perhaps until now.
In the first two games of the year, Nebraska football’s offensive turnovers were costly, leading to two defeats. Shedeur Sanders of Colorado had a successful time throwing the ball against Nebraska during the second half of the second game. Though, two scores came in easy field position from turnovers from Nebraska’s offense.
Nebraska football defensive coordinator Tony White has brought an unconventional approach that is gaining attention. Running the 3-3-5 scheme, the front six of Nebraska has consistently put pressure on the quarterback and stopped the run impressively.
Nebraska football’s defense can be the x-factor
The Nebraska football defense ranks eleventh in team sacks, averaging 3.5 sacks per game. Undoubtedly, Nebraska will face its biggest challenge going up against Michigan, the No. 2 team in the nation. Wolverine quarterback J.J. McCarthy will clearly dissect Nebraska’s secondary every chance he has. However, the defense can disturb his comfort in the pocket and perhaps force turnovers.
If Nebraska’s defense emulates their performance in the first four games, they give the team a chance to compete with Michigan. However, it will be the offense that wins the game. As good as the defense has been, the offense must score.
The flipside of that is that the Nebraska football defense could help in a big way, if it can hold the Wolverines down and shorten the field. We’ll see on Saturday.