Highlights of Nebraska defensive excellence and improvement in 2023:
* Nebraska ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in total defense, allowing 298.3 yards per game. The total defense average is a 116.1-yard improvement when compared to 2022, when Nebraska allowed 414.4 yards per game.
* Nebraska ranks 11th nationally in allowing only 4.58 yards per play. NU allows 2.57 yards per opponent rushing attempt, which ranks fourth in the country.
* Nebraska ranks second in the Big Ten and third nationally in rushing defense, allowing 77.2 rushing yards per game.
* Nebraska owns the nation’s most improved rushing defense, allowing 111.9 fewer rushing yards per game than in 2022.
* Nebraska has allowed just 16 rushing plays of 10 or more yards, the fewest in the nation.
* Nebraska has held eight opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards, including five to less than 60 yards–Minnesota (55 yards), Colorado (58), Northern Illinois (26), Louisiana Tech (46), and Illinois (21). Only second-ranked Michigan has surpassed the century mark on the ground.
* Nebraska has held eight opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing in a season for the first time since holding eight foes to under 100 rushing yards in 2009. The last time Nebraska held nine opponents to under 100 rushing yards was in 1999.
* The four-game streak to start the season was the longest stretch of holding opponents to 100 yards or less rushing since limiting five straight opponents to less than 100 rushing yards in the last two games of the 2003 season and the first three games in 2004.
* Nebraska’s four-game streak of holding its opponent to less than 60 yards on the ground was its longest since achieving that milestone in the first four games of the 1999 season.
* Nebraska has 28 sacks, including season-high totals of eight at Colorado and against Northwestern. The 3.11 sacks per game ranks second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally. Nebraska’s season sack total is already its best since 2019, and the Huskers are on track for their first 30-sack season since 2013.
* Nebraska has limited two opponents (Northern Illinois, Purdue) to less than 200 total yards. Nebraska had not previously held an opponent under 200 yards since 2017.
* Purdue rushed for 96 yards and passed for 99 in the 31-14 Nebraska victory. It marked the first time since a 2012 win over Minnesota that Nebraska held an opponent to less than 100 yards both rushing and passing.
* The Huskers held back-to-back conference opponents to single-digit scoring including Illinois (7) and Northwestern (9). That marked the first time Nebraska held consecutive conference opponents to single digits, since holding Kansas (3) and Texas A&M (9) in November of 2010. The Huskers held three straight opponents (Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue) to less than 15 points for the first time since 2009.
* Nebraska has limited six of nine opponents to 14 or fewer points. That marks the most opponents held to 14 or fewer points since also holding six foes to 14 or fewer in 2011 (13 games). The last time the Blackshirts have held more than six opponents to 14 or fewer points was in 2009, when Nebraska held 10 of 14 opponents to 14 or less.
* Husker opponents have converted just 48 percent of red-zone drives into touchdowns this season. That mark ranks 20th nationally. Nebraska prevented touchdowns on seven straight opponent red zone trips from the Illinois game through the first quarter of the Michigan State game before the Spartans converted a second-quarter trip into a touchdown.
• Nebraska has shut out the opponent in the first quarter in five games this season, holding Minnesota, Colorado, Louisiana Tech, Illinois and Purdue without a first-quarter point. Dating back to last season, Nebraska has shut out eight of its past 13 opponents in the first quarter. Nebraska has allowed a total of 20 first-quarter points this season.
* Nebraska has started 20 different players on defense and 19 players have at least 10 tackles on the season.