Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Nebraska defense took a major hit on Wednesday, as senior defensive tackle and All-American candidate Jared Crick was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Crick had been All-Big 12 over the last two seasons, and was named the Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year by league media. The unfortunate announcement was made by coach Bo Pelini in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“I feel extremely bad for Jared,” Pelini said. “He is a young man who has represented this program in a first-class manner throughout his career.”
The loss hits Nebraska especially hard, as Crick had been a bright spot on an otherwise underachieving defensive line. As a whole, the Nebraska defensive line had registered just 7.5 tackles for loss on the entire year, with Crick contributing 2.5 of TFLs. As a whole, the Nebraska defense is currently ranked 80th nationwide in rushing defense, an effort that begins with the line. Without Crick, those numbers could continue to suffer.
What's especially shocking is that Nebraska wasn't just supposed to have a good defense this year, it was supposed to have the best defense in the Big Ten. That hasn't been the case by any stretch even with a completely healthy front four, so unless Crick's injury forces the rest of the defense to elevate its collective game in response (a plea that DC Carl Pelini has undoubtedly already made to his players), the Husker defense looks extremely vulnerable for the rest of the season.
Crick is likely to be replaced in the starting lineup by senior Terrence Moore, though sophomore Thaddeus Randle and freshman Chase Rome are also now in line to see increased snaps.