Davis

Nebraska's Khalil Davis sacks Northern Illinois quarterback Daniel Santacaterina during last Saturday's game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Kollin Miller, The Columbus Telegram

LINCOLN -- Carlos Davis had a pretty good view from a few feet away.

He watched twin brother Khalil deflect a second-quarter pass during Nebraska's 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois.

A play later, Daniel Santacaterina saw Khalil break through the line. The Huskies quarterback stepped up on a quarterback draw, but quickly realized he had nowhere to go and No. 94 dropped him for a 6-yard loss.

Older brother (by five minutes) was fired up.

"In the back of my head I was like, 'Man, he's ready,'" Carlos Davis said this week.

He's ready. Carlos sees it. Khalil feels it.

With Nebraska's offense scuffling, it was the Blackshirts providing some positive moments last weekend. NU's defensive front applied more pressure, and no one was more disruptive than Khalil Davis, the sophomore defensive end.

Khalil Davis later had a fourth-quarter sack against the Huskies and finished with three stops — his first tackles of the season. He played 21 snaps, splitting time with junior starter Freedom Akinmoladun.

When Khalil Davis was making plays, "it kind of fired me up," Carlos Davis said.

"That's for both of us," Khalil Davis later added. "When I see him make a play, it gets me fired up, and that's kind of like how we feed off each other. And when he sees me make a big play, a big play from him is coming."

Khalil Davis is fitting nicely within Bob Diaco's schemes, and he's seeing a lot more playing time than he did as a redshirt freshman when he was a reserve defensive tackle.

The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder said during fall camp that building strength for the physical Big Ten matchups was key. After switching from tackle to end, the Blue Springs, Missouri, native made an effort to lose some weight to become faster. He lost the weight (about 10 pounds), but not the strength.

When it comes to matching up against the big offensive lines of the Big Ten, Khalil Davis said the keys are technique and physicality.

"Because everybody gets tired," he said. "But when you get tired, the one thing that helps you is your technique.

"For me, I'm always working on my technique, because you could never … stop progressing at your technique."

Diaco is keeping the Husker defensive line fresh by rotating players, though Carlos Davis did play all 54 defensive snaps. Khalil Davis and Akinmoladun rotated at one end spot, and Mick Stoltenberg and Deontre Thomas rotated at nose tackle.

"I enjoy it a lot because I know I have to be prepared," said Khalil Davis, who played sparingly in 12 games last year. "I'm ready to come in and help Freedom ... whenever he's ready to come out. We just try to keep a good rotation to keep us healthy."

Nebraska's defensive line had one sack through two games, but doubled that number against Northern Illinois, finishing with two sacks.

Carlos Davis said defensive line coach John Parrella emphasized violent hands and knocking guys back in the days leading up to the game. The Blackshirts will see a Rutgers offense that has given up three sacks this year.

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