Tom Farniok faces brother in Texas game as Iowa State’s defense improves its consistency


Senior lineman Tom Farniok prepares to snap the ball during the Homecoming game against Toledo on Oct. 11 at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones defeated the Rockets 37-30.

Beau Berkley

ISU center Tom Farniok hoped his younger brother Derek would come to Iowa State, but when Oklahoma came calling, Tom knew where Derek would be headed.

Now a 6-foot-9-inch, 329-pound left tackle for the Sooners (5-2, 2-2 Big 12), Derek has played in all seven games this season as a redshirt junior. He will likely see the field Nov. 1 when Oklahoma plays Iowa State (2-5, 0-4 Big 12) at Jack Trice Stadium.

The brothers Farniok have seen each other on opposing sidelines before, but, in what is Tom’s senior year, this game will be the final time.

“None of us realize how awesome it has been until it’s kind of starting to wind down,” Tom said. “You get to play against [Derek] and [Oklahoma is] as talented of a team as there is, so it’s a great personal challenge.” 

Tom and Derek, the two oldest of four Farniok brothers, grew up in a football family. Their father Brad played football at St. Cloud State, and an uncle played at South Dakota State. 

Tom said that of the four brothers, the best may be yet to come. Matt, the third oldest, is a four-star offenisive lineman in the class of 2016 and is already garnering attention from major programs. Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota have already set their sights on Matt, and more offers are likely to come. 

“He’s massive, and he’s unbelievably talented,” Tom said about Matt. “He’s more talented than he knows, but I’ll never tell him that.” 

Consistency Counts

With a bye week following the Oct. 18 Texas game, the ISU defense had time to think about what improvements needed to be made. 

The consensus? Consistency. 

“At times we have potential to be a really good defense,” said defensive tackle Mitchell Meyers. “There’s a lot of drives where [Texas] scored quickly on us and then there are some where they’re just three-and-outs.”

Sticking out in the minds of most associated with ISU football will be Texas’ first and final drives. 

The first drive for the Longhorns took three plays and 55 seconds, and it culminated in a 28-yard touchdown pass. The final drive, which resulted in the game-winning field goal, took only 25 seconds as the Longhorns drove 68 yards. 

“We gave up far too many deep balls [and] big plays,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “We started the game with a miscommunication and didn’t get a gap fit, and we gave them a layup to start the game and allowed the quarterback to get get in a rhythm for how he’s playing, so we’d like to not do that again.”