No. 23 Iowa State suffered a shocking 31–14 upset to Louisiana in its season opener at an empty Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday.
Junior quarterback Brock Purdy and the Cyclones' offense struggled to move the ball down the field against the energetic Ragin' Cajuns and their explosive special teams.
Iowa State attempted a late fourth-quarter rally after reaching Louisiana's 40-yard. However, after two incomplete passes by Purdy, his throw to Chase Allen on third-and-10 was broken up by Percy Butler. The Cajuns extended their 24–14 lead with an 11-play drive that resulted in Trey Ragas's 2-yard touchdown run.
A sluggish Purdy went 16-for-35 while throwing one interception and zero touchdowns.
The Cajuns started their surprise attack early in the second quarter after Iowa State gave up a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown to Chris Smith. He found a seam in the middle of the return and rushed up the sideline to reach the end zone to tie the game 7–7.
Although Iowa State entered halftime ahead 14–10, they wouldn't hold on to their lead for long.
Louisiana senior quarterback Levi Lewis completed a 78-yard touchdown pass to Peter LeBlanc to take a three-point lead. The Cajuns later capitalized on the Cyclones' special teams troubles with Eric Garror's 84-yard punt return touchdown to go up 24–14.
Lewis finished the day 13-for-21 with 154 yards and one touchdown.
Louisiana's upset marks the program's first road win against a top-25 team in school history and its first win against a ranked opponent since 1996. It was a big afternoon for the Sun Belt conference, after Arkansas State defeated Kansas State, 35–31, to take down another Big 12 team.
"It's a special group of people in that locker room," an emotional Billy Napier, Louisiana's coach, said after the win. "Things like that don't happen unless you have exceptional people."