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.
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.