Whole Nine Sports

Big XII Game of the Week: Why the
Ragin Cajuns Shocked #23 Cyclones at Home?

Louisiana
Photo by: Sophia Fenton
Russell Jakubowski
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Most people, including myself, saw this game going one way, and that way was a swift win by Iowa State. Instead, Iowa State lost, they lost by 17 points at home to a team that was a 12.5-point underdog. This game most definitely knocked the Cyclones out of the AP Top 25 and added a rapport to a Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns schedule that doesn’t appear to be very daunting.

Shaky Iowa State Play All-Around

Brock Purdy, the Iowa State quarterback, had a game to forget. Purdy passed for 16 of 35, which translates to an abysmal 45.7%, Purdy didn’t pass for a touchdown, and threw an interception. The lack of confidence was felt across the team and outside of running back Breece Hall. Hall had 20 carries for 103 yards and a score. Hall manifested nearly the entire team’s run game.  The offense was lackluster, and the defense was mediocre. The lone standout on defense was defensive end Will McDonald, who racked up two sacks and a lot more pressures. He stood out against the Louisiana-Lafayette offensive line that lost two linemen to lineman to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Trey Ragas
Photo by: Brad Kemp

Right Place, Right Time for Ragin Cajuns

Louisiana-Lafayette’s bread and butter are running the football with Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell. They totaled for less than one hundred yards and one touchdown. The Cajuns made up for their lackluster offense with tremendous special teams play on returns. The Ragin Cajuns returned two kicks for touchdowns, standing alone enough to match Iowa State’s total points. The passing game was underwhelming in full, but the singular highlight was a 78-yard touchdown pass by Levi Lewis put the Cajuns up 17-14. The Cajuns weren’t explosive, they didn’t put on a clinic, but they were in the right place at the right time to make a splash play.

Iowa State
Photo by: David Purdy

Overall Impact on the Top 25 and Conclusion

The results were unexpected, and it affected the top 25 poll greatly. The Iowa State Cyclones are out of the Top 25, the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns entered the top 25 for the first time since 1943. Louisiana has never beaten a ranked opponent on the road until this week. Louisiana can climb the Top 25 with wins over opponents in their easy schedule. It is time to reflect and work out Matt Campbell’s fourth quarter issues for Iowa State if you want a shot to become reranked. The reason Louisiana-Lafayette downed Iowa State was because of healthy punt returns, a big play appeared when one was needed, and basic overall consistency.