1968, that was the last time a Kansas Jayhawk football team went into Lincoln and emegred with a victory. Could this year be different? Mark Mangino brings Kansas' best team in a long time to face the Cornhuskers and Bo Pelini and the Huskers are a team rebuilding. Make no mistake though beating Nebraska in front of 80,000+ rabid Husker fans will never be easy and Kansas certainly has it's work cut out for themselves.
So what should we expect when the Kansas offense takes the field? How about the defense? Special Teams? Here's a look at what team takes the ede in various scenario's on the field.
|Why Kansas?||Edge||Scenario||Edge||Why Nebraska?|
|Kansas put together it's most balanced attack of the year last week and confidence appears to be at an all time high. I look for Kansas to again establish the run against a middle of the pack defense and that will allow Todd Reesing the room to make enough plays against the 11th ranked pass defense in the conference to win this game. The black shirts aren't back yet and Kansas get's the edge in this matchup.||KU Offense vs. Nebraska Defense||Nebraska can gain an edge here if they do two things. Reign in the rediscovered Kansas running game and then force Todd Reesing and the Kansas passing game into mistakes. The first one is possible but don't expect the Huskers who rank 96th in pass defense, 80th in scoring defense and 103rd in turnover margin to hold down the Kansas passing game|
|For several weeks this was an easy edge to the other team. However the defensive scheme and success last week have led to a little extra thought. I think as a whole at Lincoln the Nebraska offense which ranks 20th in the country does have the edge but I think if the James Holt move sticks, we get Richard Johnson back in the rotation and the revamped secondary shows equal improvement from K-State to Nebraska as it did from Tech to K-State, Kansas could cause Joe Ganz some fits and force a turnover or two to win this game.||KU Defense vs. Nebraska Offense||I'll give Nebraska the nod here as they do field the 20th ranked overall offense and 14th ranked passing offense. They also gave a Tech defense that shutdown both Kansas and Texas for a good chunk of the game trouble. I don't expect Joe Ganz to implode like he did last week and while Kansas should contain the running game I'm not yet sold on our ability to stop a pass happy quarterback. Edge here to Nebraska although the margin was slimmer.|
|While Kansas seems to have plugged the holes here to some extent they still rank last in Kickoff returns and without a couple touchdown saving tackles last week by kicker Jacob Branstetter things might have been a little different. Still not ready to say Kansas has an edge here.||Special Teams||Nebraska has put together a decent return game this week and an excellent piece on their return man on Gameday last weekend. At the same time they are average on coverage but that shouldn't be a factor against a KU team that doesn't return well. If anyone is going to change the game with this category it's the Huskers so in terms of special teams, edge Corn.|
|Mangino & Company accomplished a 180 following the Tech loss with a masterful gameplan against K-State. Oh yeah did I mention he took Kansas to the Orange Bowl last year||Coaching||Defensive minded Bo Pelini has a bright future in an offense happy Big 12. However his self professed anger problem shows he still isn't a polished head man.|
Here's the thing...winning in Lincoln is never going to be easy, at the same time Kansas may never have this good a chance again. While looking at the analysis it seems split pretty evenly, but I expect where Kansas has an edge it is a bigger edge than where Nebraska has an edge. The matchup to me that ultimately determines if we Kansas handles business is when the KU defense is facing Joe Ganz and the Husker offense.
After the way the defense performed last week I am again confident in them and see a Kansas win by a close margin in the end. The hawks are not favored in this one anymore but again in staying with our election week theme. Yes We Can!!!