Texas playing first non-Thanksgiving Thursday game in two decades


Elisabeth Dillon

Safety Mykkele Thompson is unable to bring down TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin in the Longhorns' loss to the Horned Frogs last Thanksgiving. Texas face Iowa State this Thursday, marking its first weekday game not played on Thanksgiving Day since a win over Houston in 1993. Iowa State has won 10 of its last 12 Thursday contests. 

Peter Sblendorio

Since their initial meeting in 1979, the Longhorns have had considerable success against the Iowa State.

Texas boasts a dominating 9-1 record all-time against the Cyclones, including a 4-0 mark in Ames. The Longhorns have outscored Iowa State, 70-21, over two blowout victories over the Cyclones during the past two seasons.

Head coach Mack Brown does not expect things to come as easily this week, however, when Texas travels to Ames, Iowa for a Thursday night affair. The Cyclones are 10-2 in their last 12 Thursday contests and have a knack for rising to the occasion in games earlier in the week.

“One of the more amazing things about their Thursday and Friday night games, they are plus-52 in points scored after turnovers in Thursday and Friday night, and minus-22 on Saturday, where their record has been 20-36,” Brown said. “They bring a lot of energy into Thursday and Friday nights. It’s something that they obviously enjoy. We’re going to have to circle the wagons and get our guys ready to go.”

The Longhorns possess little experience in such games, as they have not played in a Thursday road tilt outside of Thanksgiving Day since 1993. Senior left guard Trey Hopkins said that while Thursday night’s game is nothing new for the Cyclones, preparation during the short week has been noticeably different for the Longhorns.

“It’s definitely different because your scheduling is bumped up,” Hopkins said. “Everything has to happen a little earlier than you’re used to. Iowa State does a great job playing on Thursdays. It’s not going to be anything different from a Saturday night game for them because it’s something they’re all used to.”

Despite the Thursday night kickoff, Texas actually enters the game with extra rest after coming off of a bye week, a big reason why senior cornerback Carrington Byndom expects the Longhorns to be sufficiently prepared for the Cyclones.

“We got a nice little break this weekend, some time to relax, get our minds off a little bit of football,” Byndom said. “We aren’t going to feel as rushed playing from a Saturday to a Thursday.  Having the time to prepare is really good.”

The adjusted travel schedule likely presents the biggest change for the Longhorns this week. Due to the players’ class schedules, Texas plans to arrive in Iowa on Wednesday and expects to return to Austin on Thursday night after the game.

“We’re leaving after all the classes on Wednesday,” Brown said. “We’ll get into Des Moines late. That’s unlike what we would do on a Friday normally. We’ll get in at 2:30, 3:30, or something like that on Friday morning. We’ve got an agreement with the University that our guys will get up and go to class. I’m sure we’ll have to
help them.”

Despite this, Brown believes the opportunity to play in front of a national audience on Thursday night outweighs the inconvenience of rushed travel.

“It is an opportunity to play in front of a whole lot of people,” Brown said. “We will be the focus of college football with Iowa State on Thursday night. I think it’s something that we’ll obviously look at and see if we continue from here.”