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Kansas Keys To The Game vs. North Dakota State

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Angus "THE BEEF" Quigley with the stiff arm.
Angus "THE BEEF" Quigley with the stiff arm.

Establish The Run

The Kansas Jayhawks entered fall camp with Toben Opurum as their leading returning rusher, but his continued absence from the depth chart was eventually answered with a switch to linebacker late in the fall.

Entering game one the Kansas running situation is a complete unknown.  Angus Quigley has emerged as the starter with a very different running style in Deshaun Sands as his backup.  Two freshman in Brandon Bourbon and James Sims also figure to compete for time in the first game, but who and how much is a question unanswered at this point. 

The other piece that factors into the equation is the offensive line.  Yes Kansas returns four of five starters from a year ago and the one starter not returning actually was beaten out for the job.  But that doesn't instantly translate to success on the ground.  This is a group that was asked to pass block 9 times out of 10 in 2009 and how well they adjust to the change will go a long way toward determining the success in the running game.

Finding the running game against North Dakota State is key because the staff has made it clear that they want to have a running game in 2010.  With that being the goal, you better be able to accomplish that against an FCS opponent.  This means Kansas controls the line of scrimmage up front and the running backs make the reads and the plays with their feet.

It's a simple formula, but we haven't done it well for two seasons.  Any change in that has to start Saturday.