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.

"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."


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