Showdown at sundown: ISU football searches for Big 12 opening win against Texas


Photo: Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s No. 32 Jeff Woody sneaks by with the aid of his teammate, No. 84 Ernst Brun Jr. The game against the University of Kansas tallied a Cyclone win, with a final score of 51-23

Alex Halsted

When Jeff Woody finally returned to the field in 2010 to capture the historic memory with his cell phone, the scoreboard was blank.

Iowa State had defeated No. 22 Texas for the first time in school history, and after a locker room celebration Woody headed back to the field in Austin, Texas, to take a look at the scoreboard. He found nothing; the 28-21 score had been cleared away.

“It’s something that was never done in the history of the school before,” Woody said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to make 100,000 people deliberately angry. It’s actually something that’s kind of fun to do.”

That 2010 victory remains the Cyclones’ (1-2) lone win against the Longhorns (2-2) in ISU history. The two teams will meet Thursday night in a nationally broadcast TV matchup.

Texas enters the primetime game at Jack Trice Stadium in turmoil, having replaced its defensive coordinator after week two and with questions at quarterback. The Longhorns will start senior Case McCoy behind center with junior David Ash sidelined due to concussion-related symptoms.

Even with a slow start by the Longhorns, who were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 in the conference’s preseason poll, ISU coach Paul Rhoads knows the danger they present.

“They’re a very talented football team,” Rhoads said. “They’re fast, they’re big, they’re strong — they’re Texas. They might have woken up a little bit, if you will.

“They’re probably hitting stride right now, and with 12 days of preparation, they’re very a scary outfit for us to prepare and play.”

Texas bounced back from two big losses against BYU and Ole Miss with a Big 12-opening victory against Kansas State on Sept. 21. Iowa State used a victory against Tulsa last week to rebound after starting the season 0-2.

In the victory against Tulsa, ISU running back Aaron Wimberly emerged as a weapon, with 137 yards on 19 carries. Rhoads sees the emergence of various players in the team’s first three games moving the Cyclones forward.

“With the tight end being back involved in the offense, and receivers on both sides of the ball and the emergence of, ‘Oh, yeah, they can run the ball,’ I think we’ve become a little bit more dangerous,” Rhoads said.

The Cyclones have lost 10 consecutive Big 12 openers, and while Woody knows some of the skepticism regarding the team might be deserved, he also knows what one victory could do with a full conference schedule remaining.

“Whether you’re a team that loses every game every year or whether you’re Ohio State, if you lose the first two games, there’s going to be some doubt going forward,” Woody said. “Winning this game brings us back to .500, gets us a solid win against a good team and it gets us 1-0 in the

Big 12.

“Anyway you slice that, it’s a good start to a season.”

The Cyclones play Texas at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Jack Trice.