Pass Rush Needs to Heat Up Dyer

Among the keys to victory Sunday is Iowa State pressuring Jayhawk quarterback Zach Dyer, who wasn't named the starting quarterback until preseason camp. The Cyclones are coming off of a two-sack effort against Florida State and will look to tack on a few more Saturday in their Big 12 opener.

Picking apart inexperienced secondary

After clearing the 300-yard mark against Iowa State, Seneca Wallace will try to do it again facing a new-look Jayhawk secondary. The Cyclone passing attack did a great job of protecting the senior quarterback and Wallace spread the wealth evenly, hitting four different receivers at least four times.

Cornerbacks Remuise Johnson and Leo Bookman will both get initiated into new starting spots on Saturday morning. Johnson is a junior coming off a redshirt year, while Bookman has drawn more accolades as a track star than football player in Lawrence. Strong safety Jake Letourneau, who finished second on the team in tackles, is the only starter returning to the secondary.

The thin Kansas secondary will have a hard time matching the talent and experience, so look for offensive coordinator Steve Brickey to pick it apart early.

Strike early against heavy underdog

Facing a program that hasn't had much success in recent years, ISU needs to go for the jugular early just as it did last November in Lawrence when a steady rushing attack helped lead to a huge lead and eventual 49-7 victory. If KU were to get down early, it would be tough even for first-year coach Mark Mangino to keep his troops focused.

The Jayhawk defense features much inexperience across the board and not just in the secondary. Three sophomores make up the starting defensive line. Linebackers Leo Etienne and Greg Cole are the group's main playmakers, but will they have any space to roam?

Force KU quarterback Zach Dyer into mistakes

The Cyclone secondary played lights out in the second half against Florida State, forcing Chris Rix to scramble around and force passes to his receivers. As a result, Atif Austin picked off a key fourth quarter pass and the defense sacked Rix twice.

If Austin, Ellis Hobbs and the defensive backfield can successfully cover some talented KU wideouts, it will give the ISU defensive front more time to make some plays against shaky starting quarterback Zach Dyer. Dyer started four games last season, playing most of the year as Mario Kinsey's backup and completing 43-of-89 passes.

Even without the services of Harrison Hill, who gave up a sixth year of eligibility, the Jayhawks have a solid group of receivers led by Byron Gasaway and Derick Mills. If the two can get open, it will make Dyer's life a lot easier. Gasaway is the top returning receiver from last fall and Mills is a big play waiting to happen (nearly 17 yards per catch in '01).


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