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December 4, 2013
Season Rewind: Defense
Offense. This second installment focuses on the Wildcat defense.Our Season Rewind series evaluates the performance Northwestern's entire team in 2013. The first installment covered the
Two of the biggest questions entering the season were the secondary and pass rush. The emergence of sophomore safety Traveon Henry and freshman cornerback Matthew Harris helped the secondary takes steps in the right direction, although the Cats still ranked 10th in the conference with an average of 255.8 yards allowed through the air. The Wildcat pass rush posted 27 sacks, fifth in the Big Ten and only two behind third-place Michigan State. However, in most defensive categories in the Big Ten, the Wildcats ranked ninth or worse.
On the bright side, the defense broke its destructive early-season habit of allowing big plays to become a solid, steady unit. It only loses three starters to graduation -- end Tyler Scott, tackle Will Hampton and linebacker Damien Proby. Not only do the Cats have eight starters returning, but nearly all the backups are back and logged huge minutes in playing time.