Keys to success: Kansas

Second verse, same as the first for Husker fans when it comes to talking about the Texas game the past couple of years. Last year, it was one play that separated Nebraska and a victory. This year, it was a quarter. The Huskers prove that there is life on the team though and give Husker fans some optimism coming into the game this week against a top-ten Kansas team.

Nebraska lost a game this past weekend to Texas, in Austin, that they were winning for three quarters. Nebraska's effort through the first three quarters was enough to win the game, but the inability to stop the run in the fourth quarter prohibited that from happening. To boot, Nebraska loses Sam Keller for the rest of the season.


- Nebraska proved that they can really get after the quarterback this past weekend blitzing a majority of the game.
- Nebraska recorded two sacks, but really put the hurt on Colt McCoy who was almost looking for a grave to roll into in the fourth quarter.
- The inside run plays worked very well for Nebraska to start off the game. I don't know why they got away from running it.
- Nate Swift had a huge day as the Texas secondary couldn't defend the inside seem/post routes effectively.
- Marlon Lucky had a solid day. I think that he should have gotten some more opportunities in the second half.
- Sam Keller ends his Nebraska and collegiate career with arguably his best game. You really have to feel for him.
- When called on, Joe Ganz jumped right into action and Patrick Witt assumed the play signaling.


- There were a TON of holding calls that were not made. Is it just me, or has this been a recurring theme dating back to say, hmmmm, Wake Forest?
- What was up with the officiating? Texas runs a play and loses yards, but then the whistle is blown to review the previous play confirming the call on the field for the previous play, but lets Texas start out first and ten instead of counting the play with the loss?
- Nebraska literally blitzed 97% of the game, too bad it caught up with them. The read option used the Nebraska aggressive blitzes and speed against them and Jamaal Charles lit up Nebraska in the fourth quarter.
- No interceptions, but each squad had a fumble with Nebraska having the only lost fumble of the day.
- Penalties, especially the procedure calls early on, hurt Nebraska. Welcome to college football Jaivorio Burkes. The one pass interference call was a joke though.
- The Huskers have been in a position to beat Texas the last two years only to have victories taken from them late in the game. It comes down to a team that has "been there" and another that hasn't.

The Huskers now head to Lawrence, Kans. to take on the Jayhawks of Kansas. A school more known for their prowess on the hardcourt has a top ten team on the football field this year and is a double-digit favorite over Nebraska. This is what Nebraska has to do to win:

1. Rally around Ganz - With Keller out, the team must respond to losing their starting quarterback to this point in the season by trying to carry some additional weight.
2. Win the Battle of Turnovers - Nebraska has gotten better by limiting the number of interceptions, but Nebraska still doesn't get the ball back enough when the fumble it.
3. Play the Spoiler - I never thought I would say this, but Nebraska can really wreck some things for Kansas by going there and beating them this late in the season.
4. Less Aggressiveness, Play To Tendencies - Kansas is way too balanced to come in there and blitz as much as we did last week. Nebraska will need to play to Kansas' tendencies and not get too aggressive.
5. Field Position - Nebraska must give Kansas the long field all day and challenge them to move the ball the length of the field as opposed to letting Kansas' special teams give their offense good, starting field position.


1. Joe Ganz - This will be his first start and it's against a top 10 team. Lots of people wanted to see him earlier in the year, but he gets his chance now.
2. Marlon Lucky - Nebraska must try and move the football by rushing it. Ganz simply doesn't have the armstrength that Keller did and the deep, middle routes aren't an option anymore this season.
3. Tyler Wortman - Injuries plague the Nebraska linebackers, again, and it looks like Wortman will get a start this weekend at SAM.
4. Larry Asante - I thought that Asante has improved his play the most in the past two to three weeks. He might still have a chance to show why he got the nickname of "Assassin" in the spring.
5. Nate Swift - Swift had a big game last week, but nobody needs him worse this week than Ganz. Typically, Swift plays well on the road and should be a go-to receiver this week for Nebraska.


1. Brett Byford - James McClinton, Kansas starting DT, is a good one. Byford will need to keep McClinton off of Ganz and will be key when it comes to setting up the inside running like last week against Texas.
2. Zach Bowman - Marcus Henry is one of those unsung, great players in the Big 12. He is a tall wide receiver that is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch.
3. Steve Octavien - Kansas has a legit one-two punch in the offensive backfield with Brandon McAnderon and Jake Sharp. Octavien must play disciplined football.
4. Mike Smith - I thought that Smith has played, quietly, very well in the past couple of weeks. He is going to get tested this week when he rotates in.
5. Mike McNeil - McNeil got some more playing time last week against Texas and needs to emerge as a receiver for Nebraska. He has the size and speed, but needs to put it all together.

The Huskers go into Lawrence this weekend as a 16 point dog according to some sources, but I think things will play closer than that like I thought against Texas. I think that there will be some stops that will be pulled out to make things closer.

While I think some stops will be pulled out; different blitz packages to get pressure, some different offensive looks and some heightened sense for the game with the players; I still think that Nebraska will come up a little short in this game.

Kansas is as well-balanced as they come. They run the ball well and pass the ball even better. Their defense is stout. Nebraska might compete well for a half or so, but comes up short. Kansas wins, 38-28.

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