Turn The Page Tuesday – SDSU to Kansas State

South Dakota State came into Lincoln and wasn't intimidated and outplayed Nebraska last Saturday. Bo Pelini didn't mince words about his team's performance, but Nebraska has a week and a half before opening up conference play and needs to get things right before going to Kansas State. Here is what I am still thinking about SDSU and what I am beginning to think about with KSU.

What a difference a week and an opponent makes for Nebraska. The Huskers go out to Seattle last week and thoroughly dismantle Washington and basically shot down any hopes for a Heisman for Jake Locker and even knocked him a few places on some NFL draft boards and then you see the performance against South Dakota State. They were two completely different teams or so it seemed.

Like I said on the board following the game and somewhat leading up to the game when it comes to the caliber and the name of your opponent that games like this are tough to get up for. Get up for it, prepare for it or just take it seriously; Nebraska did a pretty poor job at all three and in looking back and looking ahead this is a week to get things fixed in Lincoln.

Final South Dakota State thoughts:

- Wow, from how I thought this game was going to go to how it actually did go are two polar opposites of one another. At least I got the opponent's score correct in my prediction, but I wouldn't for a million years had thought that Nebraska would just be held to 17 points last Saturday.
- What we learned about this team is that there is a tendency to get caught in the emotion of the game, the place where the game is being played and the hype. Coaches preach and plan for a faceless opponent and they want their players to do the same, but that is impossible to do. As a former player you have too many ways of seeing what is coming down the pipe when it comes to the schedule, the talk, the questions, watching film, etc. There is not a more emotional sport than football and it's easy to see when a team is playing without any on any given night. Saturday night was this definition.
- My hat's off to Bo Pelini and Shawn Watson to try and get things going with pulling Taylor Martinez and putting in Cody Green. They are making no bones about playing the best players that week, that night or that moment and that is commendable. What I am wondering though is if Cody is really #2? When is a call made to dip into the Zac Lee well to at least have him manage a game and throw the ball a little bit?
- I can't begin to tell you the contrast difference that I saw in the play of the offensive line against Washington to what you saw against South Dakota State. This was probably the most evident play of uninspired football for the whole night and the offensive line could not throw the switch to get into this game.
- I mentioned it in my pre-game article on Friday that the way South Dakota State stays with or beats Nebraska this past weekend was if Nebraska beat themselves through penalties and turnovers. Nebraska is one of the most highly penalized teams in the top 10. And despite all of the turnovers that the defense has come up with this team is still only +2 at this point in the season (and was -1 against SDSU).
- My observation from afar is that this team really lacks discipline. The penalties are killers, especially when they come in succession like they seem to or stop one drive and then the next, and it's going to have to stop sooner before later. There aren't a lot of South Dakota State-like schools on the roster. The margin for error or lack of discipline is narrowing week to week.
- On one hand I think about how close Nebraska came to losing against a Div 1-AA school and on the other another part of me says that it would have never happened. There is a part of me that wonders what the game might have been like had Nebraska decided to start all second stringers instead of starters. Might have seen a more passionate display.
- This was the last of the out of conference games and while a lot of questions have been answered there were some more that popped up. You hope that the line cane put together a strong effort from week to week and you hope that Martinez begins to find Niles Paul at some point down the field. There are also the questions about what a Will Compton brings to the defense and how much improvement you will see once he returns? We will find out in just a couple of weeks.

First Kansas State thoughts:

- Complimentary or not now things haven't always been roses between Bo Pelini and Bill Snyder. Their first meeting led to a fiery post-game exchange, which was mostly one-sided, but things on the surface seem to have calmed down some. That being said, I hear that the surface is still smoldering some and a fire might still be burning if not between these two then deeper between the programs. See my note about not wearing red below.
- My next thought is that this will be the last time that Nebraska will face Kansas State for the foreseeable future. The Huskers/Kansas State game has a consecutive streak going back to starting in 1922. It's going to be a "rivalry" that Nebraska will miss because of their success against Kansas State (77-15-2 all-time).
- There are some reasons to be concerned about facing Kansas State. First of all, this game usually plays closer than what any of the statistical or transitive property games/common opponents ever seem to give an indicator about.
- Another reason to be concerned was the success that Kyle Minett, running back from South Dakota State, had against Nebraska with 28 rushes for 113 yards.
- Daniel Thomas from Kansas State averages 157 yards rushing per game, good enough for 4th best nationally, and had success last year when Nebraska was definitely more formidable up front on the defensive line and tougher against the run as a whole.
- Also, the game last year was ugly. The final score? And eerie 17-3 likeness to last week's final against SDSU. Kansas State had the same number of first downs as Nebraska last year (19), out-rushed Nebraska (140-101), had more total offense (293-267) and nearly split the time of possession in the game.
- There is some bad blood here and I keep hearing about a "red-out" around Kansas State where it's not allowed by KSU players to wear red. It's a little mad and a little nuts at the same time.
- In stopping Kansas State this year, the Huskers must take away the run. Thomas is a North-South runner, much like Minett was, and the way to stop a North-South guy is to get him to turn his shoulder pads and go parallel to the line of scrimmage before turning up-field. If NU can do that, they win. If they can't? Look out.

This is another "trap game" for Nebraska. It's a Thursday night game and the week before Texas. I think that Nebraska got caught looking ahead to something bigger and better last week and it won't happen again for Kansas State.


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