Louisiana upsets No. 25 Iowa State to earn first win on road vs. ranked opponent

Louisiana upsets No. 25 Iowa State to earn first win on road vs. ranked opponent

Matthew Bain, USA TODAY Network
Published 3:48 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2020 | Updated 4:12 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2020


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AMES, Iowa — Louisiana was out-gained 303-272 by Iowa State on Saturday. Kicker Nate Snyder missed two chip-shot field goals. No Ragin’ Cajun rushed for more than 50 yards. And Cyclone running back Breece Hall piled up 103 yards.

And still, Louisiana won. By a lot.

Fueled by two special teams touchdowns and an improved second-half defense, Louisiana upset No. 25 Iowa State 31-14 in what can only be described as the most bizarre college football season-opener … ever.

Chris Smith sprinted untouched 95 yards for a kickoff return touchdown late in the second quarter to tie the game 7-7. Then, with just over a minute elapsed in the fourth quarter, Eric Garror returned a punt 83 yards for a score that put Louisiana up 24-14.

Iowa State never got beyond the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 44-yard line the rest of the game.

Iowa State’s marching band, cheerleaders and dance team dotted the lower bowl on one half of Jack Trice Stadium, and guests and family of both teams peppered the other side. No real crowd noise. Just a mostly empty sea of concrete as the Ragin’ Cajuns and Cyclones opened their seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But none of that is going to matter to Louisiana, which picked up its first win over a Power 5 opponent since it beat Kansas State 17-15 back on Sept. 12, 2009. This was also its first win over a ranked opponent since it beat Texas A&M in 1996. Louisiana had never beat a ranked opponent on the road.

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Levi Lewis went 13-for-21 with 154 yards and a 78-yard touchdown to Peter LeBlanc that gave Louisiana a 17-14 lead with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

Trey Ragas finished the scoring with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to put the Ragin’ Cajuns up 31-14 with 10 seconds left.

Louisiana begins Sun Belt Conference play next Saturday on the road against Georgia State.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network.  Contact him at mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.


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