Nebraska Cornhuskers listed as Big Ten defense projected for improvement in 2022

·2 min read

Not a ton of defenses in the Big Ten need improving. Defense is kind of the Big Ten’s thing. While not every defense fits the stereotype—Indiana and Northwestern were not able to do much of anything right last year—overall, most defenses in the conference rank in the upper half of the FBS.

Still, there is always room for improvement and in Saturday Tradition’s latest list of the five Big Ten defenses that are destined for improvement in 2022, one of the Hawkeyes’ division rivals was featured.

Nebraska’s defense should have put up better numbers a year ago. The Cornhuskers were 12th nationally with just 46 plays of 20-plus yards allowed. They were 20th in red-zone touchdown percentage, allowing opponents to cross the goal line on 32.4% of their trips inside the 20.

But a couple of factors did Nebraska in.

A mistake-prone offense was among the issues. Nebraska was 95th with a minus-5 turnover margin as the offense had 18 giveaways and the defense didn’t do enough to compensate.

Opponents also paper-cut the Huskers to death. Nebraska allowed first downs on 39.2% of its 3rd-down situations, which was 73rd in the country.

The scheme, it seems, is fine. It’s a matter of execution when the defense needs to get off the field. A strong pass rush will help the 3rd-down situation, and that’s where the Huskers will make their biggest leap.

Nebraska has a top-tier pass-rushing combo in outside linebacker Garrett Nelson and defensive end Ochaun Mathis, so the opportunity is there for this defense to make significant statistical improvement. – Saturday Tradition.

It is common knowledge that Nebraska was a lot more competitive in 2021 than their 3-9 record suggests. This is the team who took both Michigan and Michigan State down to the wire. If a few plays go differently, Scott Frost’s team likely finishes with a winning record. Such is football, though.

Their defense was one of the better defenses in the country, but with a few tweaks it can become one of the nation’s elite. That is the key for Nebraska in a must-win 2022 season. Fix the small things.

An improved offense with transfer quarterback Casey Thompson at the helm should help out the defense, and make it so they don’t have to will a win for the Cornhuskers. This will be key if Nebraska wants to snap their losing streak against Iowa.

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