Key #1: Keep the crowd out of it.
Anytime you put that many people in red polyester in one place, it’s never good. Now, add 5,000 new end zone seats to Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium and you have a recipe for disaster.
One of the loudest stadiums in America is even louder, thanks to the new seats that help hold in even more noise. For KU, must keep the crowd off their feet with no turnovers, solid defensive play and, because they're limited on offense, a grind-it-out-type game.
Key: NU cannot get off to a fast start.
It’s critical that all three facets of Kansas’ game – offense, defense and special teams – be particularly sound early.
Remember when Larry Brown’s KU basketball teams would jump out to a 22-3 lead by the 1st TV timeout, and even though there was plenty of time left in the game, you knew it was over?
This Saturday, KU can’t let Nebraska get off to a 17-0 1st-quarter lead. Right now, the offense doesn’t have the firepower to overcome that kind of an early lead.
The offense must not turn the ball over. The defense must contain Zac Taylor and the rest of the Cornhusker offense. Finally, Kansas special teams cannot allow the Huskers to shorten the field. KU must make Nebraska earn every yard, every point, and take time doing it,
Key: Limit 3rd-and-long situations.
Last week, Adam Barmann completed a ton of 3rd down conversion passes against South Florida. However, if the Jayhawks are going to win this football game, David Ochoa and his colleagues have to open some creases on 1st and 2nd down.
Jon Cornish and Brandon McAnderson need to have success running the ball, moving the chains and eating up time. More importantly, the Jayhawks can’t ask Adam Barmann to convert 3rd down after 3rd down.
If KU finds itself having to convert on 3rd-and-5 or 3rd-and-6 situations, Kyle Tucker will have a busy day.