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Cyclones Fall to Ragin’ Cajuns In Opener, 31-14

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A slow start to the 2020 abbreviated season.

Louisiana v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Finally, football is back in Ames. After a long time of uncertainty, one thing is certain. ISU is playing football! Can’t imagine not playing football, so glad we’re in a great conference like the Big 12!

First and foremost, shoutout to the Gameday crew for picking the Cyclones, oh what’s that? They brought in another guest picker who picked against ISU?

Opening drives for the 2020 season yields punts for both Louisiana and your hometown Cyclones, but a fumble by Breece Hall ended ISU’s second drive to set up the Ragin’ Cajun’s offense around midfield for their 3rd possession of the first quarter. After struggling to get 3rd down stops, Louisiana’s drive is halted at the Cyclone’s 10 yard line, only for Cajun kicker Nate Snyder to miss a 27 yard field goal. Still 0-0 at the beginning of the second quarter, football is fun!

Iowa State was unable to reel in some passes after getting the ball into Louisiana and was forced to punt once again. A quick 3 and out got ISU the ball back in Ragin’ Cajun territory. The Whirly Birds finally got the ball rolling and took the ball 49 yards in 8 plays to find the endzone via a Kene Nwangwu 1 yard run after Breece Hall got a majority of the carries and yards on the drive, 7-0 good guys.

Bad news would come not one play later for Cyclone fans, as Cajun return man Chris Smith takes the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to the house to tie the game at 7. Everything is...fine. Let’s check in on our friend and special teams guru, Matt Nelson.

Nature is healing and football is back!

Kene Nwangwu saw a sliver of daylight, but was unable to return the favor for the ‘Clones. Brock Purdy and the offense set up shop and put together a steady drive right before the end of the first half to get Breece Hall into the endzone. A 7 play, 69 (nice) yard drive to put Iowa State back up, 14-7 with just over a minute left in the first half. Louisiana was able to find holes in the Cyclone defense, getting the ball all the way to the 6 yard line, before a muffed snap confused everyone. Big 12 refs were in midseason formed and reviewed whether the ball was spiked or not, which it was. The Ragin’ Cajuns were able to capitalize and kick a field goal as time expired to end the first half. 14-10 Cyclones at the break. Breece Hall racking up 12 carries for 84 yards and score through one half of football.

Let’s check some scores from the Big 10 at the half:

Brock Purdy broke out his signature pump fake early in the second half on a 3rd and 10 play to convert and get the first down, which would kickstart the ISU offense. The Cyclones would however turn the ball over on downs just 6 plays later. Jon Heacock’s defense was able to hold their ground and force yet another punt, following a Will McDonald sack for his 7th in his last 5 games.

After a penalty that pinned ISU deep in their own territory, Brock Purdy threw his first INT of the season and gave the Cajuns the ball in the red zone with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. The Whirly Bird defense holds strong once again and played great defense to force another missed field goal, escaping the possession for it to remain a 14-10 game. Joe Rivera was sent out to punt once again, but a booming punt flipped the field. First play the Cajuns had however resulted in a 78 yard touchdown to put Louisiana up 17-14.

Louisiana’s defense would once again get a stop to force a punt, which would then be returned 83 yards by Eric Garror for the second special teams touchdown of the day, Cajuns lead 24-14 with 14 minutes to play. The Cyclones were unable to move the ball on their next possession and were forced to punt for the 5th time. Iowa State was able to stop the Cajun offense from breaking off another 80 yard touchdown and got the ball back via punt on their own 40.

Brock Purdy got himself going quickly next drive rushing the ball twice but the Cyclones found themselves with a 4th down just a few plays later. Purdy was unable to connect with Chase Allen on 4th and the Cajuns take over with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter. After getting stops all day, the ISU defense could not get one more stop and Louisiana put the ball in the endzone once again, 31-14. That’s all she wrote.

Louisiana v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Breece Hall was the silver lining of the offense, carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards for a touchdown. Brock Purdy threw just 16/35 with 145 yards and a pick. Xavier Hutchinson reeled in 4 catches for 43 yards in his ISU debut, but the rest of the offense was a bit underwhelming.

The defense really played well, just were left on the field too long and ran out of gas late in the game. Is it disappointing? You bet. Did we expect better? Probably. Loyal forever true? 100%. Lots of season left and you can put your money on the fact that this loss will not sit well with anyone in that program. Matt Campbell and company have their work cut out for them when they take on TCU after a bye on September 26th.