Nebraska will be favored to defend their Big 12 North Championship of ’09. The players respond to head coach Bo Pelini and his brother Carl’s passion for and ability to communicate the principles of their defense.
The blackshirts of last year allowed a stingy 10.4 points per game, #1 in the nation. The defense allowed just 14 TD’s, pitched two shutouts, and held eight of 14 opponents to 10 points, best in the country. They allowed the opponent to score a red zone TD just 64% of the time, #1 in the NCAA. Forty-four sacks, an average of 3.14/game was second best in the land.
Ndamukong Suh, the most dominant defensive lineman in college football, is now in the NFL. Talent like defensive tackle Jared Crick, an athletic 6’6”, 285 pounds, and hybrid safety/linebacker, Eric Hagg, will help hold down the fort defensively.
A solid offensive line will allow Roy Helu, Jr., and Rex Burkhead to run the football. The key to big success will be consistent play at QB. Zac Lee, Cody Green, or someone else must elevate their level of performance.
Two losses in 2009 could be painful lessons learned as the Cornhuskers try to climb to the top tier of college football again. Nebraska didn’t finish a tough road game down the stretch vs. Virginia Tech after outplaying the Hokies much of the day. A self-destruction at home vs. Iowa St. with eight giveaways, five in the red zone, turned a 35-9 win into a 9-7 loss. 2010 could be defined by the Texas matchup, a rematch of the last second loss in the Big 12 Championship in 2009.