SALT LAKE CITY — Jeff Hornacek is not what you'd call an overly confident alumnus when it comes to his alma mater's chances on the gridiron Saturday.

When 10th-ranked Utah's football team visits his old Iowa State stomping grounds, in fact, the former Utah Jazz standout only wants one thing.

"Hopefully," a grinning Hornacek said, "they give 'em a battle."

Hornacek, who's been a shooting coach with the Jazz for the past few years, was not used to cheering for a winning football team when he played hoops at Iowa State.

The ISU pigskin squad compiled a four-year record of 15-26-3 while he was a Cyclone basketball player between 1982 and '86.

"Iowa State football, at least when I was there," he said, "(was) not very good."

Times are better for Iowa State's program now, of course, but Hornacek also knows his school's opponent well.

"Utah, they've had a bunch of great years in a row here, so it'll be interesting," Hornacek said before the Jazz's preseason opener Thursday. "But Iowa State, the fans will get into it. It's a great place to play. I'm going to look forward to seeing that one."

Hornacek just hopes it's close at the end. And it's even possible he'll cheer for the Utes.

1 comment on this story

"I'll go for the team that's down in the last minute of the game and they're driving for a touchdown," he said, diplomatically. "You go for the underdog."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody