INSIDE THE GAME
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Cajuns enter the 2020 season with high hopes behind 17 returning starters. Facing No. 23-ranked Iowa State, UL is trying to collect the first road win over a ranked team and first road win over a Big 12 opponent in school history.
UL's offensive line vs. Iowa State’s defensive front: With Iowa State sporting one of the most prolific passing games in the country behind junior QB Brock Purdy, UL is hoping to control the ball with its potent rushing attack. Running it effectively against the Cyclones’ unique 3-3-5 defense will be critical.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
CAJUNS: UL’s running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas are two of only nine returning backs nationally with over 2,300 career rushing yards. The duo combined for 2,033 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns last season.
ISU: Quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 3,982 yards and 27 TDs last season, led by tight end Charlie Kolar with 51 receptions for 697 yards and 7 scores.
FACTS & FIGURES
QB Purdy joined LSU’s Joe Burrow as the only two quarterbacks in the nation last year with over 3,900 yards passing, at least 35 total TDs and fewer than 10 interceptions … UL’s defense was ninth in red zone defense last season and 47th in total defense … UL is 1-28 against ranked team with the only close losses being 27-20 at Florida, 2012; 20-17 at Illinois in 2008; 24-17 at Alabama in 1989 … Iowa State coach Matt Campbell is the only coach in school history to beat every team in his league … Iowa State’s 23 wins over the past three years is one win shy of best stretch in school history (1976-78) … Trey Ragas needs 521 rushing yards this season to pass Brian Mitchell into No. 3 on the all-time rushing list and 1,498 to pass No. 2 Elijah McGuire … Elijah Mitchell is currently 946 yards shy of Mitchell’s No. 3 spot.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
0 – Number of turnovers in the red zone attributed to Brock Purdy in his collegiate career compared to 35 touchdowns.
8 – School-record number of consecutive games UL has scored 25 or more points.
47 – Number of scores by returning players of the Cajuns’ school-record 69 touchdowns scored last season.
1 – The Tight Ends
Led by Kolar, Iowa State’s trio of tight ends combined for 78 receptions for 964 yards and 10 TDs last season, compared to 20-153-2 totals for UL’s returnees.
2 – Sack specialists
Iowa State’s Jaquan Bailey has school-record 18.5 career sacks, while UL’s Joe Dillon has 19.5 – two shy of the Cajuns’ school record.
3 – Stingy defenses
Iowa State was first in the Big 12 in points allowed (22.9) two years ago and third last season (25.9), while UL’s defense was 18th nationally last year (19.7).
4 – Explosive offenses
Iowa State set school record in total offense last season (444.3), while Cajuns’ offense had the seventh most total yards (494.1) nationally.
IOWA STATE (0-0)
Sept. 12 Louisiana, 11 a.m.
Sept. 26 At TCU, TBA
Oct. 3 Oklahoma, TBA
Oct. 10 Texas Tech, TBA
Oct. 24 At Oklahoma State, TBA
Oct. 31 At Kansas, TBA
Nov. 7 Baylor, TBA
Nov. 21 Kansas State, TBA
Nov. 27 At Texas, TBA
Dec. 5 West Virginia, TBA
Sept. 12 At Iowa State, 11 a.m.
Sept. 19 At Georgia State, 11 a.m.
Sept. 26 Georgia Southern, TBA
Oct. 7 At Appalachian State, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 Coastal Carolina, TBA
Oct. 23 At UAB, TBA
Oct. 31 At Texas State, TBA
Nov. 7 Arkansas State, TBA
Nov. 14 South Alabama, TBA
Nov. 21 Central Arkansas, TBA
Nov. 28 At ULM, TBA
THE ADVOCATE SAYS …
Iowa State 34, UL 27
On paper, this does not look like a David vs. Goliath contest at all. Both teams have record-breaking quarterbacks returning. Both teams were among the best defensive units in their respective leagues. The Cyclones’ 3-3-5 defense is seemingly designed for the passing offenses in the Big 12. UL must be able to run the ball against it. If not, it’ll be a long day for UL’s defense. Iowa State’s quarterback is one of the nation’s best, its running back Breece Hall is big with good hands and Kolar might be the best returning tight end in country. But if the Cajuns can run it and win the turnover battle, an upset is realistic.