ISU football welcomes Mountaineers on senior day


Captains E.J. Bibbs, Tom Farniok and Cory Morrissey walk onto the field before the game against Kansas State on Sept. 6 at Jack Trice Stadium

Beau Berkley

Over the years, ISU football players in Jack Trice Stadium have been involved in a fair share of monumental games both good and bad, but the senior class of 2014 has arguably experienced the most highs and lows in recent memory. 

Recently, losses to Football Championship Series opponents and a trouncing at the hands of Oklahoma take precedent over home wins against Toledo and a 2013 victory against Kansas. 

But the clock has to be wound back a few years before more impressive home victories can be found. 

Obviously the 2011 upset of No. 2 Oklahoma State comes racing to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Center Tom Farniok along with a handful of other seniors started that game as a redshirt freshman. In fact, Farniok was the one leading the way for then-running back Jeff Woody’s game-winning touchdown. 

“I can really remember exactly what happened,” Farniok said. “Everyone has moments they say they’ll never forget, that’s one of them.” 

Defensive end Cory Morrissey, who transferred to Iowa State his sophomore year, had a chance to play right away alongside Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, two of the best linebackers Iowa State has ever seen. 

“I can remember back when I was a sophomore and [Knott] and [Klein] saying [senior day’s] going to be here before you know it,” Morrissey said. “I really didn’t think about it, but it’s flown by that fast, and it’s surprising.”

But before the seniors delve too deeply into their reminiscence, they still have two games and season to finish, with emphasis on the word “finish.”

Iowa State (2-7, 0-6 Big 12)  welcomes West Virginia (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) to Ames at 11 a.m. Nov. 29. After West Virginia, Iowa State has one more game to play Dec. 6 in Fort Worth, Texas, against No. 5 TCU, who is vying for a playoff bid. 

Iowa State’s bowl eligibility was stripped several weeks ago against Kansas, begging the question: With just two games left, what’s left to play for? 

ISU coach Paul Rhoads hasn’t seen any indication that his team is even entertaining that question and is still focused on finishing out the season and not throwing in the towel. 

“I think if that would have been the case, it would have shown in this past game,” Rhoads said “It would have shown especially when we were down 14-0, and it didn’t.”

This season’s outcome thus far has awakened memories of last year, when the Cyclones came into the final two games dragging a 1-9 overall record. What followed was a 34-0 win against Kansas on senior day and a 52-44 win in Morgantown, W. Va.  

Although Farniok’s final season hasn’t mirrored that of his redshirt freshman season, there is still time to salvage a few memories. 

“Last two seasons haven’t gone like we wanted obviously,” Farniok said. “They’ve kind of stunk, not going to lie, but we have a chance to finish [Nov. 29] and leave this place with a good feeling.”