DALLAS (FWAA) – Big special teams plays powered the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns past No. 23 Iowa State, 31-14 for their first win in program history over a ranked opponent on the road. Louisiana's (1-0) first win over a ranked opponent since 1996 earned it the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 12, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected. This is the 19th season for the FWAA to award a National Team of the Week.
This is the first time for Louisiana to earn the honor. The Ragin' Cajuns are the fifth Sun Belt Conference team to be honored, and with South Alabama winning last week's award, the Sun Belt has two teams honored in the same season for the first time since the award began in 2002.
Iowa State had just taken a 7-0 before Louisiana's Chris Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a tying touchdown – his first career kick return for a score. The Cyclones led 14-10 at the half, but the Ragin' Cajuns hit the big play again late in the third quarter when Levi Lewis found a streaking Peter LeBlanc for a 78-yard touchdown pass and a 17-14 Louisiana lead. Barely one minute into the fourth quarter, Eric Garror returned a punt 83 yards for another touchdown to extend the lead to 24-14.
The Ragin' Cajuns held Iowa State scoreless in the second half with a defense led by Lorenzo McCaskill's 10 tackles. Ferrod Gardner added nine tackles and the first sack of his career.
The second weekend in September has been dynamic for Louisiana in the past. The Ragin' Cajuns last beat a top-25 team on this same weekend, Sept. 14, 1996, in a 29-22 home win over Texas A&M. Its last win over a Big 12 opponent came on Sept. 12, 2009, a 17-15 win over Kansas State.
The other Reveal Suits National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 12 are:
Arkansas State (1-1): Layne Hatcher found Jonathan Adams for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left as the Red Wolves scored their first win over a Power 5 foe since beating Texas A&M 18-14 in 2008, and only its second win over a Power 5 team since moving to FBS status in 1992. A-State held K-State to 91 rushing yards and just one third-down conversion. It marked the first season-opening defeat in Manhattan for K-State since a loss to North Dakota State in 2013, when K-State head coach Chris Klieman was on the Bison sideline as defensive coordinator.
Coastal Carolina (1-0): The Chanticleers opened the season with a win for the first time since 2017 by beating Kansas, 38-23, its second win over the Jayhawks in as many seasons. Coastal scored the game's first 28 points and had three takeaways to register a second win in Lawrence following last season's 12-7 road win. The Chanticleers are now 2-1 against Power 5 opponents under head coach Jamey Chadwell.
Georgia Tech (1-0): Two true freshmen and a sophomore led the Yellow Jackets to a season-opening 16-13 road win at Florida State. Quarterback Jeff Sims had 341 yards of total offense and sophomore defensive end Curtis Ryans forced a fumble that set up true freshman Jude Kelley's 32-yard game-winning field goal with 8:56 left. Georgia Tech fell behind 10-0 but recovered to outgain FSU 438-307 as Sims was solid in his debut, completing 24-of-35 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown and running for a game-high 64 yards.
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
2020 Reveal Suits National Teams of the Week
Weekend of Sept. 5: South Alabama Jaguars
Weekend of Sept. 12: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns