Despite a second-straight year of entering the season as a ranked team, Iowa State will take another early exit from the polls after a 31-14 loss to Louisiana.
The No. 23 and No. 25 Cyclones were abysmal on offense Saturday afternoon and they have now lost two of their last four season openers. Besides Breece Hall’s 103 yards on the ground, nothing seemed to go right for Iowa State. Star quarterback Brock Purdy struggled with his passes, the receivers dropped several balls and special teams gave up two long return touchdowns.
The upset marked the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns have beat a ranked team since 1996. Not to mention it was the program’s first-ever win against a ranked squad on the road. Louisiana’s last win over a Big 12 team was a two-point victory over Kansas State in 2009.
The Cyclones’ loss to a Sun Belt program was demoralizing, considering they were projected as one of the top teams in the Big 12. Iowa State could’ve used the 12th man in Jack Trice Stadium today, but unfortunately no fans were allowed because of the pandemic.
Head Coach Matt Campbell appeared to grow more frustrated with the officials as the game prolonged. The refs clearly missed a couple of pass interference calls that would’ve changed the momentum in the game. Regardless of the matter, it turned out to be a long afternoon for the the Cyclones.
The home team struggled to find any rhythm and consistency all game long. After putting two touchdowns on the board in the second quarter, Iowa State was held scoreless in the second half. It marks the second-straight game the Cyclones failed to score in the fourth quarter.
For a second-straight game, Iowa State’s defense allowed 30-plus points in a loss. Normally that unit has been a stronghold under Campbell. However, the 40-year old coach will have to go back to the drawing board after his Cyclones had more yards, first downs and held onto the ball longer than the Ragin’ Cajuns, but still lost.
Luckily for the Cyclones they have the week off before opening up Big 12 play on the road. The team will need to iron out several wrinkles before getting back on the gridiron. Although the naysayers will criticize as underachievers, there’s still a lot of football to be played.
As crushing as the home loss was for the team, fans and the Big 12 as a whole, Campbell must find a way to pick up the pieces. That’s when film study comes into place. The players need to find out what they’re doing wrong and fix it. Cyclone fans have had enough of watching the team play down to their competition, especially when it’s an inferior opponent.
Which is why the next to weeks will be the most important of the 2020 season for Iowa State. College football fanatics will be intrigued to see how the team responds in the face of adversity and if they’ll come out swinging now that their backs are against the ropes.