It will be no easy task for the Nebraska football team to pull out a victory in today's Missouri game. NU is an 11 point underdog at home, which is one of only a few times in history the Huskers have been a double digit home dog at Memorial Stadium by the odds makers.
For the Huskers to pull out a win today, it's going to take a near perfect effort on both sides of the ball. Here are today's keys to victory for Nebraska in the Missouri game.
The start dictates everything
For Nebraska, maybe the biggest key today will be how they start this football game. If the Huskers can force Missouri's offense to an early three and or stop, that would be a huge statement in itself considering nobody has been able to do that to them this entire season.
Jumping on the scoreboard right away would also be huge. Nebraska needs to let Missouri know right away they aren't just going to hand them this game like they did last year in Columbia.
Three and outs
Missouri has only punted the football five times in four games. As a team, they've only trailed for 13 seconds in the entire season.
If Nebraska's defense can force some early three and outs, they'd basically do something nobody has done before and it would be a huge shot in the arm for the Husker defense.
Establish a running game
In four games, Nebraska has only run the football successfully once and that was against a three man front. Today, they have to run the ball…period. There really is no alternate game plan because the Huskers cannot get into a shootout or scoring match with the Tigers.
Running the ball could help the Huskers control the clock and also limit the Missouri offensive possessions. The big question will be who gets the nod at running back. Marlon Lucky is expected to start, but don't be surprised if Roy Helu gets an early look if Lucky struggles.
Don't let Daniel get into rhythm
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel has only been sacked twice this season, which means nobody has been able to effectively get pressure on him.
Daniel sits back in the pocket 7 yards deep and he can see the blitz coming a mile away. The front four has to get pressure on Daniel and head coach Bo Pelini needs to be creative in his pressure packages to keep Daniel out of rhythm.
Using the intangibles
Nebraska has history on their side, they have the crowd and they have the night game atmosphere. If the Huskers want to win today, they have to utilize all of these intangible advantages.
If Nebraska can just get on the scoreboard early and let the fans know they are going to be in this game that would be huge in its own right. However, in the end, I just don't think Nebraska has the horses to run with the Tigers today in Lincoln.
MISSOURI 41 NEBRASKA 27