ISU vs. Tennessee Tech: Keys to Victory

Tennessee Tech got off to a horrendous start in its season opener against Bowling Green two weeks ago. ISU, on the other hand, has been very successful when winning the turnover margin as it did against Kansas. Here are three keys to a Cyclone victory over the Golden Eagles on Saturday.

Forcing turnovers

After watching game tape of the Golden Eagles' season-opening 41-7 loss to Bowling Green, Iowa State will try to jump on them in much the same manner. Tennessee Tech committed four first-half turnovers, including a pair of fumbles and blocked punts. As a result, it fell behind 41-0 after just 30 minutes and never recovered against a I-A foe.

The Cyclones have been very successful when winning the turnover margin. Not taking care of the ball cost them in a Florida State loss, especially early, but played a big role in last week's 42-point trouncing of Kansas. ISU will look to force sophomore quarterback Robert Craft into some bad decisions, as Tech could be looking at numerous passing situations.

Dominate time of possession

This figures to be a long day for Tennessee Tech overall, but assuming the Cyclones are able to establish a solid ground game, it could add up to pure exhaustion for a Golden Eagle defense that played a majority of the first half against Bowling Green.

ISU will afford plenty of carries to a trio of talented tailbacks. Junior starter Hiawatha Rutland enters the contest with a 107-yards per game rushing average, and will look to pad that total against a I-AA opponent. Rutland is bidding to become the latest in a long line of consecutive 1,000-yard rushers at ISU. Look for Brian Thompson to again approach the 100-yard mark after he tallied 92 on 14 rushes against Kansas.

The Cyclone defense is sure to do their part. In four possessions in the opening quarter against the Jayhawks, the defense forced three three-and-outs and intercepted Zach Dyer to end the other drive.

Maintain focus on this week's foe

Putting forth a workman-like effort is a phrase that has been thrown around this week about as much as KU quarterbacks were last Saturday. Everyone from Coach Dan McCarney to CN insider Ben Bruns to the common fan are predicting that the Cyclones do just that this weekend.

ISU is proving that it has developed a killer instinct against lesser foes, as opposed to past seasons against the likes of Ohio, Indiana State and UNLV. After witnessing last week's blood-letting of a Big 12 team, the Cyclones are looking to jump all over Tennessee Tech and allow for some key reserves to gain experience.

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