Tale of the Tape: Neb Def. versus U-M Off.

On defense, Nebraska looks similar to Michigan in its 4-3 set. Here are the Nebraska defensive stats for the season versus the Wolverines' offense stats. The Huskers have been excellent in red zone defense -- will U-M have trouble scoring? And both Special Teams as well.

The Nebraska Defense:

On defense, Nebraska also looks similar to Michigan in its 4-3 set. The Huskers lost two of their three starting linebackers to injury early in the season, Steve Octavien and Stewart Bradley. But in his first season as a starter, 6-1, 225-lb. MIKE LB Corey McKeon earned second team All-Big 12 honors and was the team leader in tackles with 86. The Cornhusker defensive line is the strength of the unit, leading the Big 12 in sacks for the whole season with 46; 6-6, 280-lb. junior Adam Carriker tied for the league lead with 9.5, and Fr. DE Barry Turner was a first-team freshman All-American. In the secondary, 6-2, 210-lb, junior strong safety Daniel Bullocks was second-team All-Big 12.

Nebraska Defense and Michigan Offense Conference Rankings (conference games only):

-- Michigan: 9th in scoring offense at 27.4 ppg
-- Nebraska: 6th in scoring defense at 26.0 ppg (1st: Texas at 17.1)

-- Michigan: 8th in total offense at 370.2 ypg
-- Nebraska: 7th in total defense at 361.2 ypg

-- Michigan: 8th in pass offense at 213.4 ypg
-- Nebraska: 6th in pass defense at 220.9 ypg

-- Michigan: 7th in pass efficiency at 128.2
-- Nebraska: 5th in pass defense efficiency at 123.9

-- Michigan: 8th in rushing offense at 156.9 ypg
-- Nebraska: 6th in rushing defense at 140.4 ypg

-- Michigan: 8th in 1st downs at 20.2 per game
-- Nebraska: 4th in opponents 1st downs at 18.9 per game

-- Michigan: 7th against sacks: 2.0 per game -- Nebraska: 2nd in sacks: 3.25 per game

-- Michigan: 5th in red zone offense at 85.7%
-- Nebraska: 1st in red zone defense at 69.7%

-- Michigan: 10th in 3rd down conversions at 38.5% -- Nebraska: 4th in 3rd down opp. conversions at 32.5% (Texas 1st at 29%)

Nebraska, Michigan Special Teams:

Nebraska has excellent kickers. Senior punter Sam Koch set a school record with 45.9 average yards per punt, ranking third in the country. Freshman place kicker Jordan Congdon was a freshman All-American and tied the Nebraska school record of 18 field goals and a league-leading 13 of 15 in conference play. Soph. Courtney Grixby finished 2nd in the league in punt returns, averaging 12.1 yards.

Nebraska, Michigan Special Teams Conference Rankings (conference games only):

-- Nebraska: 8th in kickoff returns at 18.6 ypr
-- Michigan: 4th in kickoff coverage at 41.1 net yards (opp. avg. start at 28.9 yard line)

-- Michigan: 2nd in kickoff returns at 22.7 ypr
-- Nebraska: 4th in kickoff coverage at 42.6 net yards (opp. avg. start at 27.4 yard line)

-- Nebraska: 1st in punting at 45.3 yds avg., 39.2 net yards (both 1st)
-- Michigan: 2nd in punt returns at 11.2 ypg

-- Michigan: 8th in punting at 37.3 yds avg., 36.4 net yards (6th) -- Nebraska: 4th in punt returns at 11.6 ypg

-- Nebraska: 1st in field goals at 86.7%
-- Michigan: 4th in field goals at 75.0%

-- Nebraska: 9th in turnover margin at -.38
-- Michigan: 4th in turnover margin at +.25

-- Nebraska: 3rd best in penalties, 55.0 yards per game
-- Michigan: best in penalties, 31.8 yards per game


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