Stafford had a knack for finding the football in 2012. He had a team-high four interceptions, all in Big Ten play, and led the league in interceptions in conference action. He also had seven pass breakups, while forcing two fumbles and recovering two others.
The play of Stafford helped Nebraska lead the nation in opponent pass completion percentage, while ranking in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense and passing yards allowed. For his play in 2012, Stafford earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the Big Ten media panel and second-team recognition from the coaches.
Ohio State: Totaled seven tackles, including five solo stops... forced a fumble by Buckeye running back Carlos Hyde at the NU 20-yard line in the second quarter that was recovered by Thad Randle. Northwestern: Tied P.J. Smith for the team lead in tackles with eight, including five solo stops... helped hold the Wildcats to 121 yards passing. Michigan: Produced his first career interception, as he helped lead a defensive backfield that totaled three interceptions... registered six tackles, including three solo stops... notched one TFL for two yards. Michigan State: Recorded double-digit tackles of the first time in his career with 11 stops, tying Will Compton for second on the team... forced a fumble by Le'Veon Bell in the third quarter that was recovered by Compton... helped hold MSU to 123 yards passing. Penn State: Recorded a third-quarter interception that he returned to the Penn State 4-yard line to set up a touchdown... also recovered a fumble in the end zone forced by David Santos late in the fourth to stop a potential go-ahead score by the Nittany Lions... finished the game with eight tackles and one pass breakup.
Minnesota: Tied for fourth on the team with four tackles... recorded a third-quarter interception for his third interception. Iowa: Had a third-quarter interception, good for his team-leading fourth interception of the season... marked his third straight game with an interception and his fourth pick in five games... added a pass break-up to help hold James Vandenberg to 92 yards passing. Wisconsin (Big Ten Championship): Notched six tackles, including five solo stops... accounted for one of NU's three TFLs. Georgia (Capital One Bowl): Tied for second on the team with seven tackles, including four solo stops... increased his season tackle total to 96, including a team-leading 51 solo stops.
Stafford made his presence known in the opener with six tackles, including five solo stops, a tackle for loss and forced a fumble on Chattanooga's Chris Awuah with a jarring hit in the third quarter. His play earned Stafford the start the following week against Fresno State and he responded with his 11-tackle effort. He led Nebraska with nine tackles, including six solo stops against Washington, and added three tackles and two breakups at Wyoming.
Stafford led NU with nine tackles at Wisconsin, then rsponded with six tackles and a pass breakup in a 34-27 comeback win over Ohio State. Stafford played a key role in Nebraska's 24-3 win over No. 9 Michigan State, totaling five tackles and a season-high three pass breakups. He had five tackles each against Northwestern and Penn State, then had seven stops, including two tackles for loss, at Michigan. He had five tackles each against Iowa and South Carolina to close the season and also had a breakup in each of those games.