Pete Kwiatkowski has led continued improvement for the Texas defense in the three years he has been coordinating the Longhorns. This year, the unit is second nationally in both third-down defense (26.4%) and red zone defense (65.4%). It also ranks 10th in rushing defense (90.3 ypg), 17th in scoring defense (17.6 ppg), 19th in tackles for loss (7.0 pg), 30th in turnovers gained (15), 30th in pass efficiency defense (121.34) and 31st in sacks (2.56 pg). Those numbers lead the Big 12 in scoring defense, sacks, rushing defense, red zone defense and third-down conversion defense, while ranking second in tackles for loss and total defense. This year, the defense has held five opponents to below 100 rushing yards in a game, with one of the most impressive being the last game as it limited Kansas State, which entered the contest as the No. 5 rushing team in the country at 226.0 ypg to just 30 yards on 29 carries (1.03 ypc). In the Longhorns’ win at No. 3 Alabama, the defense posted five sacks in the game, the most surrendered by the Crimson Tide since 2021 (at Auburn) and the most at home since 2015 (Tennessee). The five sacks were the most for a non-conference foe at Bryant-Denny Stadium since 2012 (6, Western Kentucky). In other defensive highlights this season, Texas allowed only 176 yards of total offense against Rice, the fewest yards allowed by a Longhorn defense since 2017 (171, San Jose State) with Rice having just 114 yards during their first 10 drives, adding 62 yards on their final drive of the game. At Baylor, the Texas registered eight tackles for loss and five sacks, and did not yield a touchdown to the Bears. Against BYU, the defense held the Cougars to six points, the fewest they have scored in a game since 2019, and it also marked the first time in 47 games BYU was held out without a touchdown. In Kwiatkowski’s defense, linebacker Jaylan Ford was an All-American in 2022, and this year has already been named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, while defensive back Jahdae Barron has been selected as a semifinalist for the Thrope Award. Defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat is also a national awards candidate, while the defensive line as a whole is widely regarded as one of the best in the nation, which includes the edge rushers and outside linebackers coached by Kwiatkowski. Over the three years under Kwiatkowski, the defense ranked 99th nationally in scoring defense (31.1 ppg) and 100th in total defense (425.6 ypg) after the first year, 27th in scoring defense (21.6 ppg) and 53rd in total defense (368.4 ypg) after the second year, and are 17th in scoring defense (17.6 ppg) and 30th in total defense (331.2 ypg) this season.