Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23 Iowa State, Saturday at noon ET (ESPN).

Line: Iowa State by 11 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Iowa State enters the season as a team on the rise after several narrow losses in 2019. The Cyclones face a challenging opener against the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference West champion. The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off the best season in program history and would love to beat a Top 25 opponent on the road for the first time.

KEY MATCHUP

The Cyclones’ defense could be the best in the Big 12. Ten players with starting experience are back, including All-Big 12 linemen JaQuan Bailey and Enyi Uwazurike and two-time all-conference safety Greg Eisworth. Louisiana-Lafayette’s balanced offense averaged nearly 500 yards per game last year and returns record-setting quarterback Levi Lewis.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Louisiana-Lafayette: RB Elijah Mitchell was among 12 FBS players who ran for more than 1,110 yards last year. The Cajuns might rely a bit more on him early as the receiving corps establishes itself after the departure of star Ja’Marcus Bradley.

Iowa State: QB Brock Purdy comes into the season with high expectations after setting multiple school records. The Cyclones are averaging almost 430 yards and 32 points over Purdy’s 22 starts.

FACTS & FIGURES

Purdy has never committed a turnover inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. … Bailey, who missed the last nine games because of injury, is tied for the ISU career lead with 18.5 sacks. … ISU’s Breece Hall was the nation’s No. 4 freshman rusher last season with 74.8 yards per game. … Louisiana-Lafayette is 0-26 all-time in road games against Top 25 opponents. … Cajuns LB Joe Dillon’s 19.5 career sacks are second-most among active FBS players. … ULL’s 11 wins last season were a school record.