It's a broken record and nobody likes hearing about it. With that being said though, you simply can't look at KSU today and not think about what has hampered NU much of the year.
Most people would harp on the record of Nebraska thus far, citing that it proves how far NU has come in such a short time since it's virtual collapse.
If you had seen the games though, NU is just as close to being a lousy team as it is the one you see right now.
Roberson and Sproles are enough by themselves that you would hate to actually have to add to that, but oh that Nebraska offense and how they have loved to find ways to end drives, stagnate or make mistakes to the point of sending their own defense into fatigue from overuse.
The story for what Nebraska will have to do to stop both the starting I-Back and QB for the Wildcats is much of what they were probably planning to do against the Horns.
They had better hope it actually works this time.
The good news is that the Wildcats aren't the talent-laden team that NU faced down in Austin. Not really even close, actually. The offensive-line is big and pretty good, but their defensive line and even the usually-stout linebacking core aren't what KSU fans have become accustomed.
Not very good at the defensive-end spot, very weak in the secondary, this version of the Wildcat defense has holes to be sure. Are they holes that NU can exploit.
Outside of the almost obligatory 40+yard completion to Matt Herian, that's probably not going to be enough to get the secondary of KSU from crowding the line of scrimmage. You know the linebackers will be stacked up close and yes, everyone will be playing the option like it's the only play Nebraska will call all day.
The philosophy that Nebraska should have used down in Austin was more a middle approach, smashing it down their throat for the lack of anything else even being remotely effective.
Granted, NU would have still got it handed to them, but the option game was about as useful as the play-action pass on 3rd and 20.
Again though, KSU's D-line isn't the caliber of that seen from Texas, so if NU was going to have any success, they should have considerably more during today's game.
Jammal Lord will have to be more consistent. I know, not exactly a major headline there, but as I love broken records, it's inevitable that we have to thrown that one out there as it skips and kicking phonograph just doesn't do any good.
I think the move of Ross to the starting position was a solid move on the part of the coaches, but not because Ross earned that spot. I look at Ross the kind of back you need when you insist on running the option when everyone on God's green earth knows you are running it to.
Getting to the corners simply won't work. The linbebackers will already be cheating to the sidelines so that they make sure nobody beats them or at the very least, they don't have good angles of pursuit.
What you then need is a running back that has the ability to not just see the cut-back lanes, but the elusiveness to find them in an instance and Ross's lower center of gravity allows him that very thing.
Ross has shown in the brief times he's been in that he has the vision to see the pursuit and where it's strength is concentrated. What he has though that neither Davis or Horne have is a real ability to cut on a dime and reverse his field if necessary.
The biggest knock against "pork chop" was that he was so busy about getting busy in the backfield, he forgot which way the end zone was. Side to side, but never with the thought that up-field is where the team was actually heading.
Last week, he proved beyond a doubt that within this jitterbug frame, there's a newly-discovered north-south attitude and it benefited him and the team in being able to pick up good yards in crucial situations.
Plus, the kid just runs hard.
There does lie the potential that Nebraska can move the ball on Kansas State. KSU isn't as good as they are used to and Nebraska does have the kind of player it takes to put some drives together. Note, that I said "some".
The consistency of this offense that Nebraska has, especially against good defensive teams, well, there simply isn't any. No consistency in the passing game, no consistency in the running game outside of them using it for the lack of having anything else that is remotely useful and, turnovers + Penalties always are drive-killers.
I sit here wanting to pick Nebraska. Hey, it's the home-field and even though NU doesn't have what it takes to beat good teams on the road, it does pretty good at home. And also, the crowd should offer at least some bit of annoyance to the KSU offense. And, oh yes, the NU defense. The Texas game notwithstanding, this defense has proved itself stout and very capable of rebounding from a loss.
Ok, here comes the almost verbatim analysis on that from the Texas game.
I have all the confidence in the world of that defense, but not if they are going to be on the field most of the game and I see that as a distinct possibility today. While NU should do markedly better against the Wildcats than they did against Texas, no matter how hard I try, I see NU's offense finding every which way to lose this game for Nebraska. Whether it's turnovers or simply being so ineffective the defense can't get off the field, this will go down as the first home-loss of the season.
Believe me, I am gritting my teeth even as I write this, because outside of Colorado, losing to the purple team down south is as deplorable thing as there is.
Such as it is though, reality coming to a head again, Wildcats take the Huskers in Lincoln, 28-16.
That is a revised prediction, but I still couldn't find a way for NU to win.
Anyone have one of those 8-balls you shake up? Nahh, that probably still wouldn't help.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com