Midseason glance: Standouts for ISU football


Photo: Huiling Wu/ Iowa State Daily

Wide receiver Chris Young tries to run the ball during the game Saturday, Oct. 13, at Jack Trice Stadium. Young ran a total of 24 yards in the 27-21 loss to Kansas State. 

Jake Calhoun

Midway through the 2012 season, the ISU football team has seen its share of standout players that have made their name known one way or another.

Four of them — two on offense, two on defense — have particularly impacted the team’s success.

Ernst Brun (RJr.) tight end — 6-foot-3, 247 pounds

Brun has brought an element that has been absent from the ISU offensive attack in years past: a receiving tight end.

Brun became the first ISU tight end to tally four touchdown passes since Al Dixon did so in 1976 with his 30-yard strike over the pylon in the Cyclones’ 27-21 loss to Kansas State on Oct. 13.

“It makes it a lot easier from a passing standpoint,” said quarterback Jared Barnett of having Brun. “He’s huge in the pass game because he can threaten safeties down field. He adds a different dynamic to the offense.”

So far this season, Brun has 12 catches for 124 yards and is averaging 17.7 receiving yards per game. Brun has almost completely overshadowed fellow tight end Kurt Hammerschmidt’s final stat line of 13 catches for 126 yards from last season in six less games.

Chris Young (RSr.) receiver — 5-foot-11, 197 pounds

Young has been one of those who has gone largely unnoticed until this season. Young, a redshirt senior from Austin, Texas, has 20 catches for 232 yards and two touchdowns in all seven games started this season.

Since arriving to campus, ISU coach Paul Rhoads said Young has come a long way.

“Chris Young was a young man that in the last two years would hardly catch anything without using his entire body,” Rhoads said. “He’s found confidence in catching the ball with his eyes and his fingers, and he’s making plays afterwards with the ball in his hands.”

Young tallied a career-high 86 yards off seven receptions in Iowa State’s 37-3 win against Western Illinois on Sept. 15.

David Irving (So.) defensive end — 6-foot-7, 280 pounds

With a physically overwhelming presence, Irving has made his name known as a key player on the ISU defensive line. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end has compiled 13 total tackles — nine solo — with two tackles for loss, one sack and a 20-yard interception returned for a touchdown.

However, Irving said he still has aspects of his game that he hopes to improve.

“Every aspect of the game — shedding blocks, deflecting passes, blocking field goal kicks — I just need to work on getting them out to shoot my arms out and use them more,” Irving said.

Durrell Givens (RSr.) safety — 6-foot, 210 pounds

In his first season as a starter, Givens has recorded the third-most tackles (35 solo, 12 assisted) on the team behind All-American candidate linebackers and team captains Jake Knott and A.J. Klein.

Givens also leads the team in takeaways — one interception and three fumble recoveries.

Big plays have successfully been negated by Givens, who has tallied 15 stops on plays of 10 yards or more — including a solo tackle of running back Joseph Randle on a 62-yard scamper up the middle in the fourth quarter of Iowa State’s 31-10 loss to Oklahoma State.

Givens was instrumental in the Cyclones’ final defensive stand in their 9-6 win against Iowa, where he stopped receiver Keenan Davis on a 29-yard pass completion on fourth-and-3 that was about to break open for a potential game-changing score.

It was in those games against Iowa and Oklahoma State that Givens led the team in tackles with nine and 12.