Some might call it a banner week for the Sun Belt.
This week, the conference went a perfect 3-0 against the Big 12. Coastal Carolina knocked off Kansas while Arkansas State knocked off Kansas State.
The most impressive win of the week however, came from Louisiana. On Saturday, the Ragin’ Cajuns went into Ames and knocked off No. 23 Iowa State, 31-14.
Cajuns Make History
Entering Saturday’s contest, Louisiana was 0-26 all-time against ranked opponents on the road. The Ragin’ Cajuns had defeated just one top-25 ever and that was a 29-22 victory over No. 25 Texas A&M in 1996.
With the victory, Louisiana finds itself as a ranked football team for the first time since November 1943. In this week’s AP Poll, the Ragin’ Cajuns come in at No. 19. At No. 21, Louisiana is ranked in the Amway Coaches Poll for the first time ever.
Special Teams Are Special
In Saturday’s victory, it was the most overlooked phase of the game where Louisiana made its mark. The Ragin’ Cajuns had two returns go for touchdowns.
After Iowa State scored to take a 7-0 lead, Chris Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to tie the game. Louisiana took its first lead late in the third quarter on a 78-yard touchdown pass from Levi Lewis to Peter LeBlanc. The Ragin’ Cajuns extended that lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter on Eric Garror’s 83-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Louisiana’s punting team was also outstanding. The Ragin’ Cajuns held Iowa State to negative-3 punt return yards on four returns.
The defense was also solid for Louisiana. Iowa State, led by quarterback Brock Purdy, was held to just 303 yards and turned the ball over twice. Asjlin Washington intercepted Purdy while Lorenzo McCaskill tallied a game-high 10 tackles.
The 14 points for the Cyclones was their fewest at home since a 14-7 win over TCU on Oct. 28, 2017.
Ranked for the first time since World War II, Louisiana will begin Sun Belt play on Saturday. The Ragin’ Cajuns will hit the road to take on Georgia State.
The contest begins at 12 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN2. It will be the season opener for the Panthers.