Husker practice report, Sept. 17: Illinois RB Reggie Corbin has the Husker defense's full attention

Illinois running back Reggie Corbin is averaging 7.5 yards per carry so far this season. 

LINCOLN — The fourth quarter breakdown in Boulder remains inside the heads of Nebraska's defense. 

Which is why, despite being up more than 30, Erik Chinander kept his first-team defense in against Northern Illinois. 

"We want to teach these kids we have to put the foot on the gas, both offensively and defensively," Chinander said. "It can’t be prevent mode. We know that they’re going to become one dimensional at some point in time if we can get the lead that we want, so we have to be able to stand tall and shut this game down if we want to be a great defense."

Nebraska's defense closed Saturday, giving up just six points. That pleased Chinander. But he wants to see his defense keep offenses out of the end zone — and close — on the road. He won't feel comfortable until they do. 

Nebraska will have a chance to prove it against Illinois this weekend. 

The Illini lost 34-31 to Eastern Michigan on Saturday. But Chinander and the defensive staff have an eye on Illinois running back Reggie Corbin, who is averaging 7.5 yards per carry so far this season. 

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"I know there’s a couple of other good running backs in the league, but I think he’s right there with all of them," Chinander said. 

Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud said he might just be the best of the bunch. Corbin ran for 144 yards on 18 carries against Eastern Michigan. 

Former Husker quarterback AJ Bush ran all over the Huskers last year in Lincoln.  

Though Chinander thinks his defense has room to grow, he's pleased NU had nine forced turnovers, among the most in the country through three weeks. 

"I’m happy it's  happening, I hope it keeps happening," Chinander said. 

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Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email: chris.heady@owh.com.

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