On Saturday afternoon, the no.19 Cal Poly football team used a successful rushing attack to take down the Portland State Vikings 55-35 in Portland.
Senior quarterback Dano Graves led the offensive explosion, completing 12 of 13 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Junior slotback Kyle Lewis put on a performance offensively as well, running for 158 yards on just 11 carries.
Graves started the scoring early, throwing for two touchdown passes in the first 11 minutes to senior slotback Kori Garcia and redshirt freshman wide receiver J.J. Koski, respectively. Portland State (2-5, 1-3) countered the second Cal Poly (4-2, 2-1) touchdown quickly, as kick returner Kahlil Dawson took the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a score to make it 13-7.
Portland State used a pair of defensive stops in the second quarter to set up their offense in scoring position. Quarterback Alex Kuresa punched it in from four yards out to put the Vikings up 14-13.
From that point on in the second quarter, Cal Poly scored 14 unanswered points before halftime. One touchdown came on a seven yard run by Garcia and the other came on a nine yard run by junior fullback Joe Protheroe to give the Mustangs a 27-14 lead going into halftime.
After the half, it was clear Cal Poly was in control. Graves started the scoring five minutes into the quarter with a 28-yard pass to senior wide receiver Carson McMurtrey to put Cal Poly up 34-14. The Vikings responded with a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-21 halfway through the third quarter. Cal Poly returned the favor four minutes later when Lewis scored on a 20-yard run to make it 41-21. Not to be outdone, Portland State scored again in the final minutes of the quarter on a four-yard touchdown pass to close the third quarter.
The Mustangs headed into the final quarter with a 41-28 lead. To close the game they dominated time of possession, keeping their offense on the field for four minutes more than Portland State. Protheroe began the quarter’s scoring with a 31-yard scamper up the middle for a touchdown. The Vikings scored on the ensuing possession to narrow the Mustangs’ lead to two scores.
But, as they’d done throughout the game, the Mustangs responded right away with a score.
Lewis took a pitch from Graves 70 yards to the house to give Cal Poly a 55-35 lead they’d keep for the final six minutes of the game.
In a game that featured 90 points and 1,005 yards from both teams combined, it was Cal Poly’s run defense that came up with a good effort. Portland State averaged about 238 yards per game on the ground but the Mustangs held the offense to just 72 yards rushing. On the other side, the Mustangs’ rushing offense continued its impressive season, totaling 462 of the team’s 658 yards on offense.
Next weekend, the Mustangs will host this year’s edition of the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe against UC Davis (2-5, 1-3).