Keys to Success: Kansas State

At first glance, the score against Kansas this weekend looks more like a basketball score or a score that Husker fans used to enjoy over their opponents. Instead, Nebraska gave up the most points in Nebraska history this past weekend to Kansas. The Huskers prepare for another opponent from the Sunflower State this weekend for the last home game of the season.

The Kansas game started out well for Nebraska who forced Kansas to punt, scored a touchdown, got back up 14-7 and then never led again for the entire game. Scoring 39 against most opponents should be enough to win. But, you need some help from your defense.

GLASS HALF FULL

- Joe Ganz debut performance wasn't bad. He did throw for an insane amount of yards, touchdowns and interceptions.
- Maurice Purify had the type of day that basically everyone sort of expected he might have every weekend at Nebraska.
- Marlon Lucky becomes the single season receptions leader as a running back at Nebraska breaking Johnny Rodgers record.
- Did you know that Nebraska actually averaged more yards per play last week? Yep, 6.4 (Kansas) to 6.6 (Nebraska).
- If there was really one thing, just one, that I took away from the weekend was that Nebraska was able to score against a pretty good defense.

GLASS HALF EMPTY

- Where to start? Allowing 76 actually betters the 70 that Nebraska allowed to Texas Tech in Lubbock three years ago. Guess what, we go there again next year. Gulp.
- Nebraska was unable to finish some drives on their side of the field that really hurt. Add that to Nebraska's lack of success on third down and you have disaster.
- Kansas put themselves in good position following Nebraska kicks averaging over 30 yards per kick off return.
- Once again, Nebraska put the ball on the turf one time and lost it that one time. Nebraska isn't forcing any turnovers and can't afford to give the ball to the other team.
- Kansas only punted once. ONCE! And guess what, that was following their first drive of the game.
- Nebraska was perfect in the red zone for scoring and were actually there five times. The problem was Kansas was perfect too and got there twice as many times.

Nebraska comes home this weekend for Senior Day and to play against Kansas State. State enters the weekend as about an eight point favorite, but off an "odd" loss to Iowa State in Ames last weekend. This game is winnable for Nebraska, but will they do what they need to do to win?

1. Get to Freeman! - For the first time in his short career, Josh Freeman comes to Nebraska. Hopefully like the Texas game, Nebraska holds nothing back and punishes the Kansas State QB.
2. Run The Ball - Kansas State is down their nose tackle this weekend and that could help with Nebraska establishing a run game if they want to run between the tackles.
3. Ball Control - Four interceptions won't win you a lot of games. Nebraska must have long drives that takes time off of the clock and puts points on the board.
4. Contain Nelson - We've heard about Jordy Nelson for almost a decade and he finally decided to play this year. He is a monster on special teams and must be contained.
5. Spread The Ball Around - Ganz hit 10 different receivers last weekend against KU. That type of distribution will open things up for him and this offense.

FIVE OBVIOUS PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

1. Barry Turner - If there was a week for the play of the open end to wake up it's the weekend Josh comes to town.
2. Zach Potter - I'll go ahead and call out Potter too on this. All hands on deck with Freeman coming to town.
3. Roy Helu - A personal best of 56 yards rushing, he could see a rise in carries because of Lucky's ineffectiveness and Castille's fumbling problems.
4. Maurice Purify - A huge target against a not so big KSU defensive secondary could lead to another big day.
5. Carl Nicks - Will have his work cut out for him against Ian Campbell who is a very good DE for KSU.

FIVE NOT SO OBVIOUS PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

1. Cortney Grixby - Grix will have his hands full on Saturday. Nelson is also deadly at receiving the ball.
2. Nebraska safeties - Larry Asante and Tierre Green will need to stay as deep as the deepest man and make good tackles on Saturday.
3. Joe Ganz - Obviously, Ganz needs to throw the ball well, but what I am worried about is Ganz finding KSU's linebackers.
4. Marlon Lucky - KSU makes a lot of plays behind the LOS and slowing them up will be key. Look for that screen play you love so much.
5. Nate Swift - Swift could have a big day as Purify will likely draw coverage from Justin McKinney, but Swift could benefit from that match up.

So it's prediction time. A look at the past five or so games and conventional wisdom says to pick Nebraska here might be idiotic and not sound financial advice if you wanted to place a wager. There are a lot of things to consider about this game though.

First of all, this is Senior Day. A day for everyone to remember what this particular group has been through. For the red shirt seniors, there was three defensive coordinator and two head coaching changes. They have come a long way.

Another, and for me the biggest, is that Josh Freeman comes to town. Freeman needs no introduction to Nebraska's coaches, players or the state. This is the first time that Freeman will play Nebraska in Lincoln and he could have a long day of picking himself up off of the field after getting hit.

I like the emotion that this weekend could provide and these little undertones to allow Nebraska to pull one out. Yeah, call me an idiot. I will take Nebraska to pull the "upset" over Kansas State, 38-31.

If I might add, before I sign off, a little piece of advice. This is senior day folks for the players, but also might be the last time some other people might be on the sidelines for Nebraska. Yes I am talking about the coaches and potentially any players that might leave the program.

My piece of advice for this weekend is to be classy. You might be in favor of change, and you have the right to be, but it doesn't do anyone any good to boo the coaches or players this weekend because of it.


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