Iowa State has chance to earn signature win against Texas

By Ryan Killian
It wasn't so long ago that Gene Chizik led Texas to a national title and was the defensive coordinator for a squad that had back-to-back Thorpe Award winners.

But to be fair, the guy in charge of those defensive backs is still at Texas, and the highly acclaimed Chizik is 1-5 at Iowa State.

Chizik was widely considered the nation's hottest prospect when it came to head coaching candidates who'd never led a program, and he probably could have held out for a better job.

Instead - and I can't blame him for this - he was taken with the Cyclones when they came calling. Iowa State is a BCS conference team, and it's had a spot of success recently, so most guys with no head coaching experience would be champing at the bit to get the job.

But Chizik won the Broyles Award in 2004, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach. He also racked up a personal 29-game winning streak between his stints at Auburn and Texas.

Then he went to Iowa State.

It didn't take him long to earn a signature win. The Cyclones beat in-state rival Iowa 15-13 on the power of five field goals in his third game.

But in Big 12 play, Chizik's boys fell to Nebraska 17-35. Then they fell to Texas Tech 17-42.

Through it all, Chizik's new players have stuck by him and his ability.

Chizik won over his players with one-on-one meetings that included everyone from star wide receiver Todd Blythe to each walk-on.

Asked about his coach's success and early accomplishments with the Cyclones, though, Blythe was realistic.

"We're 1-5. That says a little bit," he said.

But Chizik has a chance to make his second win a the-band-is-out-on-the-field kind of affair, and it comes against his last employer.

Blythe said his head coach would never reveal whether or not that makes this game special.


"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think that was the case," he said. "I definitely think he has a little extra for this game."
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