The Cal Poly football team beat Sacramento State 59-47 Saturday night for its third conference win in a row behind a huge day from the offense.
The no.17 Mustangs (6-2, 4-1 Big Sky) made the most of a chance to move up the conference standings against the Hornets (1-8, 1-5), who are 12th out of 13 teams in the Big Sky Conference.
In a game that featured 1,156 yards of offense and 106 points, the Mustangs proved to be the better offense on the field. Senior slotback Kori Garcia started the scoring early for the Mustangs, running for a 64-yard touchdown to put them up 7-0 just three minutes into the game. Sacramento State responded with a four minute drive capped by a 38-yard touchdown run. Cal Poly countered on the ensuing drive as junior fullback Joe Protheroe caught a four-yard pass from senior quarterback Dano Graves. At the end of the first quarter, the Mustangs were holding on to a 14-7 lead.
The second quarter included more scoring, as Sacramento State’s Isiah Hennie returned a punt 90 yards for the tying touchdown three minutes in. He followed that up with a 23-yard touchdown catch five minutes later to put the Hornets up 21-14. The Mustangs’ sophomore kicker Casey Sublette made a field goal from 25 yards out as time expired in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 21-17.
After halftime, the Mustangs came out scoring in the third quarter, as Graves threw a 40-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman wide receiver J.J. Koski to give them the go-ahead score. Protheroe punched it in from one yard out and redshirt freshman wide receiver Jake Smeltzer caught a 16-yard touchdown from Graves to make it three unanswered touchdowns for Cal Poly. At the close of the third quarter, the Mustangs had a 38-21 lead.
Though the teams had combined for 59 points through three quarters, both offenses would combine to almost double that total in a flurry of scoring.
Sacramento State started the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 38-27. The Mustangs responded with a touchdown of their own as junior slotback Kyle Lewis ran for a 54-yard score. On the ensuing possession, the Hornets scored again, as Hennie caught a 2-yard touchdown pass. Cal Poly returned the favor on their next possession as junior tight end Reagan Enger ran for a 39-yard touchdown and put the Mustangs up 52-34.
The Hornets’ Jordan Robinson ran it in from one yard out on the next possession before junior fullback Jared Mohamed ran for a 47-yard touchdown to put the Mustangs up 59-41. Sacramento State ended the scoring onslaught with a 15-yard touchdown pass in the final minute that gave the game the 59-47 final score.
This game marks the second time in three games the Mustangs have scored more than 50 points. Their 59 points marked the most scored since a 70-14 win over Idaho four years ago and their 674 total yards set a new season best. Protheroe continued his standout season with 168 yards and a touchdown to stay fourth in FCS in rushing yards per game.
The season-high 527 yards on the ground moved the Mustangs to 370.3 per game this season and no. 1 in the FCS in rushing yards per game. With the offense continuing to produce at an amazing rate, the Mustangs will surely move up the FCS rankings for the third week in a row before hosting no. 3 Eastern Washington (7-1, 5-0) on Saturday night.