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Keys to the Game: Texas A&M

We have only played one game outside of Kansas. We have yet to play a team as talented as Texas A&M, a running game as good as the Lane-Goodson-McGee combination. We have never beaten the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, and the last time we ever beat them was in 1974. Mark Mangino is 0-21 all time against Big 12 South teams not named Baylor. We have never won a game in a staidum with more than 75,000 people in it; A&M's Kyle Field can hold as many as 82,000 people. Therefore, we will lose.

Most national pundits have guaranteed that fact.

But this team has shown, and will continue to show, that history is largely irrelevant in college football. The player and coach turnover is so constant, that even what happened last season is hardly a predictor of future success.

A win here would mark the first 8-0 start for Kansas football since 1909. 1909. But before we get there, we need to take care of business in College Station. And to escape with a win, the following things will need to occur...

Key #1 -- Stop Javorskie Lane

It is too muc to ask to shut down all 3 of A&M's threats in the running game, Lane Mike Goodson and QB Stephen McGee, but Lane is the key. If you take away the middle part of their running attack, if we can not allow Lane's big body to gain steam running downhill, it will force them to run outside. Goodson and McGee scare me, sure, but Lane is good enough to single-handedly change a game. We shut him down, we make their running game one-dimensional and, quite possibly, their entire offense to switch to the passing game.
Key #2 -- Don't Turn the Ball Over

Turnovers are always the key, but that is magnified on the road, especially in an enviroment as hostile as Kyle Field. And sure, crowds outside of K-State and Misery don't usually "get up" for the Jayhawks, but that will change from here on out. We are the #9 team in the BCS, and teams usually get up for Top 10 teams. Even if they are Kansas. But I digress. Todd Reesing and Co. have done a good job all season of not giving away free points through turnovers. That will need to continue today, A&M's offense thrives in short-field situations. If we can force them to build long, sustaining drives their running game will eventually wear down and we will be in good shape.
Key #3 -- Get the Ball in the Hands of Our Playmakers

Last week, our offense stalled as Dezmon Brisoce and Aqib Talib were non-factors last week in Boulder, and against a better defensive team in the ampersands that won't pass. Whatever it takes, screens, reverses, whatever, we need to get the ball in the hands of people who can make plays. Or 'playmakers'. Jake Sharp qualifies, it would be nice for him to break a nice, long run. But most importantly, look for this to be the week where we finally run a trick play with Kerry Meier. He has been in there as a WR more and more every week, and now would be as good of a time as ever (a road game against a pretty good opponent) to run a little reverse, give it to Meier, and have him throw a pass. Maybe even Reese can catch the pass?

There will be plenty of keys to winning this game, but those are the 3 most important IMO. Open thread coming up in an hour or so...