Louisiana Lafayette Iowa St Football

UL running back Chris Smith, center, returns a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown during against Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. 

1. Special teams deliver in huge way

It’s a cliché that many say they know, but don’t really believe. There are three parts to the game — offenses, defense and special teams. The Cajuns weren’t perfect in any of the three areas, except for coming pretty close on defense. But when they were good on special teams, they were really good with a 94-yard kickoff return by Chris Smith and an 84-yard punt return by Eric Garror to stun No. 23 Iowa State on the road. What an impressive debut for coach Robby Discher in his first game as UL's new special teams coordinator.

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2. Critical adjustments made

When the coaching staff evaluates the film of Saturday’s big upset win, there will be plenty to work on, but also plenty of great adjustments to be proud of. The defense got hurt some early on with the running game, but kept it from getting out of hand. Iowa State’s passing game showed signs of heating up in the second quarter, but only ended up finishing with 145 yards passing. UL’s new kicker Nate Snyder was pulled after two misses and his backup Kenneth Almendares made three extra points and Snyder responded with a touchback, despite being pulled.

3. Secondary played great

At first glance, junior cornerback A.J. Washington was the star of the game in the defensive backfield with a pass breakup on fourth down and an interception. He played great, but the entire secondary did at times. Most of that comes from aggressive play. The officials let contact go and the Cajuns were up to the task with physical play against Iowa State’s big tight ends and newcomer wide receivers.

Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.