Cajuns Down Iowa St. for First Victory Over Ranked Team on Road
It hadn't been since 1996 at Cajun Field when the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns had defeated a ranked team in #25 Texas A&M 29-22. Saturday, the Cajuns head into Ames, Iowa, and defeat #23 Iowa State 31-14 for their first-ever win over a ranked team on the road.
Special teams and defense were the main keys to the cog in this one as Chris Smith took a second-quarter kick-off back for a 95-yard touchdown to tie it after Iowa State had scored to open to take a 7-0 lead.
Then, in the fourth quarter, with UL leading 17-14 after a big stop by the defense, the cyclones punted to Eric Garror, a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference defense AND special teams for a reason ran back a punt 83 yards for a score. That score increased the lead to 24-14 and Louisiana would never look back.
As for the defense they were special, they turned over Iowa State twice in this game and won the turnover battle 2-0 as AJ Washington had an interception and they forced a fumble by RB Breece Hall.
In addition, the defense stopped the Cyclones on two out of three fourth downs and held Brock Purdy to only 16-35 for 145 yards. In total, Iowa State gained only 303 yards of total offense.
Offensively for Louisiana, it was a little bit of a struggle aside from one big play-action pass from Levi Lewis to Peter Leblanc for a 78-yard bomb of a touchdown as Leblanc outran the defense in the third quarter.
The running game wasn't on top of its game as they rushed for a total of 118 yards. Trey Ragas led the way with 14 carries for 49 yards and a late fourth-quarter touchdown to ice the game.
With the win, the Cajuns move to 1-0 on the young season and will open their Sun Belt Conference schedule next Saturday, September 19th at 11a at Georgia State.