It’s unfortunate that Nebraska’s struggles on offense Saturday against Northwestern took away from their defensive performance.

Erik Chinander’s unit is the best thing about this team right now, which tells you just how bad the offense has been. In the preseason, many were skeptical about how the front 7 would look and perform, especially after losing 3 starters on the defensive line who are now on NFL rosters.

But to Chinander’s credit, his guys have shown up through 2 games.

Against the Wildcats, the Huskers rotated with a 2- and 3-man D-line paired with 4 linebackers and JoJo Domann, Nebraska’s safety-linebacker hybrid.

Ben Stille, Ty Robinson, Damion Daniels, Jordon Riley and Casey Rogers were the main D-linemen, while Luke Reimer and Collin Miller manned the 2 inside ‘backer spots. Starting linebacker Will Honas was hurt and didn’t play, so Reimer got the nod after being injured for the Ohio State game.

Reimer, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound former walk-on from Lincoln, had an incredible debut, leading the Huskers with 10 tackles. The sophomore was everywhere on Saturday. He played fast, violent football, wrapping up ball carriers and destroying blocks so others, like Miller, who finished with 6 stops, could get a chance to make a play.

Watch Reimer eliminate the pulling center, Sam Gerak, which forces running back Drake Anderson to cut inside, allowing Robinson to get the tackle for loss:

Check out this TFL from Reimer. There’s no hesitation here. He sees the gap open, trusts his eyes and goes, flying past pulling guard Nik Urban. He was aggressive on Saturday, like a hungry dog. Credit to Domann, too, as he forced Anderson to an inside track:

This next play had to be one of Reimer’s best of the day, and that includes his strip sack of quarterback Peyton Ramsey.

After a corner blitz, Northwestern receiver Kyric McGowan heads upfield to take on Reimer. Look at Reimer lock on to McGowan and toss him away violently. McGowan was the one attempting the block, but he wasn’t in control here:

Reimer, Robinson and Domann really stood out on Saturday. On this play, watch how Domann blows past true freshman left tackle Peter Skoronski to set the edge, which reroutes running back Evan Hull back inside where Robinson and Reimer are flowing:

Stille, Nebraska’s lone senior D-lineman, finished his day with 4 tackles. He held up well and battled, just like he did at Ohio State. Watch him hold his ground and lock up Gerak, the center, then grab onto running back Cam Porter. Also, credit outside linebacker Garrett Nelson — he beat the block of the tight end and found his way into the backfield, which may have rerouted Porter into Stille:

Rogers, a sophomore from New York, is getting his opportunity to shine this season and is taking advantage of it. Watch him fight through a double team, then swim past right tackle Gunnar Vogel to get the stop:

Husker fans should love that Riley, a transfer from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, got some reps on Saturday. He’s a big, physical dude at 6-6, 330 pounds. He’s lined up in the A gap here; watch him hold his ground against Skoronski and tackle Anderson on the inside split zone run:

Nebraska’s defense played well enough to win. The offense just fell flat in the red zone, scoring only 13 points in 6 trips.

The Huskers held the run-heavy Wildcats to 3.9 yards per rush, and if you take away Anderson’s 41-yarder in the first quarter, Northwestern averaged just 2.8.

There’s a lot of questioning going on right now in Husker land, but none of it deals with the defense. Credit to Chinander and his unit.