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Keys to the Game: Missouri

I’ve been pretty busy this week to get pissed off at Missouri too much but with that said it’s time to take a look at the black and gold and take a look at how Nebraska can pull off the upset of the #3 team in the land with a little bit of luck.

1.) Keep Chase Daniel off the field – If this is the case, Nebraska is doing all of the right things. Whether it’s playing quality defense, sustaining long drives or just keeping Joe Ganz upright, the Cornhuskers need to establish themselves, get confidence and do it quickly. Chase Daniel is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.

Keep him off of the field and Chase Coffman, Jeremy Maclin, etc. can’t hurt you. A feat far easier to say than accomplish, but if turnovers become available, Nebraska will need to capitalize on taking each and every one of them. I’d rather see Chase on the sideline pickin’ his nose again than scorching the NU secondary.

2.) Chase Chase Suh-ner rather than later – Several Mizzou blog pundits have mentioned it, so I’ll take them at their word. Pressure Daniel and hey, it’s not a bad idea considering that Nebraska has simply not gotten consistent pressure. Ndamukong Suh has been playing well throughout the season sans a few foolish personal fouls. He’s shown he can be a manbeast and needs to show up Saturday. This doesn’t let the ends off of the hook either. Zach Potter I’m not too concerned with, but Pierre Allen has given me pause while Cameron Meredith has shown excellent technique and quickness in his brief playing time.

I think that this could very well be the game where Meredith can be utilized to rattle the Mizzou QB and could be one of Nebraska’s deadliest weapons even for a true freshman. Meredith uses his speed well and may miss a time or two, but if speed is what prevents Chase from making sound decisions, send Cam and let Suh & Co. play cleanup.

3.) No special teams letdowns – Jeremy Maclin is going to be a terror to contain, but beyond that Nate Swift showed some serious wheels and the punt return team itself got a chance to show the nation that despite losing to Virginia Tech they’ve got some decent special teams chops as well. Protection for Dan Titchener is key as well. Nebraska spent quite a bit of time practicing their special teams this week and I’m looking forward to see the fruits of their labors. Hey, Gary: It’s a fake!

4.) Grow a spine – Last year against Mizzou the Cornhuskers had been beaten senseless by USC and Mizzou added to that. Quite literally in some situations. This squad won’t let that happen. If Mizzou comes in and wants to brawl, watch for yellow flags to match the color of the Tiger uniforms because people may get tossed. I criticized Bo Pelini for the foul he snagged against VT, but I do not disagree with his passion. He needs to remain on the sideline where the head coach should be. Defend your players, but do it with composure and poise. Be smart, be strong and be a Cornhusker.  

In summary: Many people feel that Nebraska needs a miracle to beat Mizzou. I even predicted a 45-20 loss to the Tigers. Does that mean I don’t think Nebraska can win? No. Does it mean I expect them to lose? Not necessarily. Do I think it’s probable? From what I’ve seen yes, however I do know all too well that any team can beat any team on any given Saturday.  Common knowledge. Mizzou’s got this in the bag…or at least they should. It was said very well that the bar is essentially in the sand and that the nation expects a Nebraska clock-cleaning, but if the Cornhuskers knock the Tigers off of their perch, it won’t just be an upset. It will be a win that Bo Pelini and his team can hang their hat on and build a season off of. The Pinkel factor’s been absent lately, hasn’t it?