Nebraska defense given Blackshirts

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska's defense has earned its Blackshirts.

Coach Bo Pelini said he handed out 12 black practice jerseys Thursday to recognize the key players on his defense. The black jerseys are a Nebraska tradition that has come to symbolize defensive excellence.

Previously, Pelini waited until October or even November to hand out the black jerseys because he believes it's an honor players have to earn. He said this week felt like the right time this year.

Nebraska has allowed an average of 16 points this year and ranks 24th nationally in scoring defense. The Blackshirts also have grabbed eight interceptions to rank second nationally.

The No. 6 Huskers are preparing for one final tuneup against South Dakota State on Saturday before starting Big 12 play.