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November 15, 2008MANHATTAN, Kan - The Nebraska football team (6-4, 3-3) will go on the road today to take on what head coach Bo Pelini called a "desperate" Kansas State football team (4-6, 1-5).
The Wildcats need two more wins to become bowl eligible, so you can bet they will give NU their best shot today in Manhattan. Here are the five keys to victory for the Huskers against KSU.
Don't let KSU establish early confidence
Kansas State is going to come into this game trying to establish some early confidence. Nebraska cannot let them make any big plays early and allow them to get some momentum.
KSU is not a mentally tough football team, and if NU can withstand their early charge, this should be a football game they should take control of.
If there's one area where Kansas State is very strong, it's special teams. KSU has run back five punts for touchdowns this season and the speedy Deon Murphy has been able to cause problems to just about anybody the Wildcats have played.
Maybe the most impressive stat for Kansas State this season though has been the fact they've blocked eight kicks and punts. That's an incredible number that would catch the eye of any coach. Nebraska has to be aware of this on Saturday.
Running the football
Everybody that has played Kansas State has been able to run the football on them. Both Louisville and Louisiana-Lafayette ran for over 300 yards on the ground, and the KSU run defense as a whole is ranked 109th nationally.
Expect a big dose of Marlon Lucky, Roy Helu and Quentin Castille today in Manhattan. It would not be surprising to see NU run the ball around 50 times today, especially if they have success early.
Be ready for anything
KSU head coach Ron Prince has nothing to lose today. Do not be surprised if he empties out the playbook and calls some of the better trick plays he's been sitting on all season.
For Prince, this is an opportunity for him to finish with some pride and KSU still feels like they can get into a bowl game if they win on Saturday.
Keep the momentum going
For Nebraska, it's so important they do not have a letdown today in Manhattan. NU cannot afford an early hick-up or a rough start in this game. A loss would be detrimental to the progress the Huskers have made in year one under Pelini.
Nebraska should be able to come into this game and win by not doing anything too exotic. The Huskers just need to do what they do and execute and this should be an easy win.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 48 Kansas State 27