lowa State Football enters 2020 as a darkhorse to win the Big 12, but the Cyclones need to an upset from Louisiana before conference play starts.
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Iowa State has a tough hill to climb to win the Big 12 Conference but this might be the best team to be able to do so. Led by quarterback Brock Purdy, the Cyclones could find themselves in the conference’s title game if they avoid losing more than two conference games this season. With two losses the Cyclones would still need some help from tiebreakers but with the near-even level of play among the top teams of the conference, it’s very likely Iowa State makes the cut.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 12
Start Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Aimes, Iowa
Stadium: Jack Trice Stadium
TV Info: ESPN
Odds: Iowa State -11.5, O/U 56.5
Live Stream: WatchESPN (Free with pro TV)
While their offense is led by a sleeper for the Heisman Trophy, their defense is led by one of the nation’s best group of linebackers. And although their season opener is against a Sun Belt opponent, these linebackers are going to come in handy as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns had a top 10 rushing defense last year and look to carry that same success on the ground into 2020.
Iowa State will be in control for most of the game if Purdy and the Cyclone offense can get a multiple-score lead early on. The Ragin’ Cajuns have a great run game but if the deficit is too much, they will be forced to abandon their game plan. But Iowa State needs to stay disciplined on defense, a great run game typically leads to big yardage plays off of a play-action, and the last thing the Cyclones want to do is get in a shootout with Louisiana in their season opener.
Now that you know what to expect, here’s how to watch and bet on the Louisiana vs Iowa State game:
Prediction: An upset in this one would not be all that surprising. The Ragin’ Cajuns are pesky and their run game can keep them within distance for most of the game. But the Iowa State offense and Purdy have a great game, as he throws for two scores and avoids turning the ball over. Cyclones jump out to an early lead and hold onto it for the rest of the game. A hard-fought battle for sure, but nonetheless, the Cyclones are victorious in their season opener.
Score: Iowa State 38, Louisiana 28.The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the Iowa State Cyclones will face off at noon ET Sept. 12 at Jack Trice Stadium to kick off their 2020 seasons. Louisiana ended up 11-3 last year and capped things off with a win over the Miami (OH) RedHawks in the LendingTree Bowl, so they are on the hunt for another strong season. While Iowa State was not exactly top dog last season, they did wrap up the year with a winning record of 7-6.
A pair of last-season offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Ragin’ Cajuns were sixth best in the nation in rushing yards per game, finishing the 2019 season with 257.4 on average. The Cyclones displayed some offensive firepower of their own as they ranked 11th in the nation in passing yards per game, closing the season with 311.3 on average (top 8%). We’ll find out if either of these strengths ends up making the difference in the game.
Since the experts predict a defeat, Louisiana will need to dig deep. We’ll soon see whether they can make the experts look bad. The Iowa State football team will make its 2020 debut Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium against Louisiana.
Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m.
The Cyclones went 7-6 last year, finishing the year with a loss to 15th-ranked Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl.
The Ragin’ Cajuns went 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the Sun Belt Conference, winning the Lending Tree Bowl against Miami (Ohio). They’re the pick to win their Sun Belt division this season.