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Junior quarterback Chris Brown led the Cal Poly football team to a 42-14 win over Portland State, marking the Mustangs’ first victory of 2014.
Brown spearheaded an incessant rush attack and finished with 12 rushes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. He added one via pass on a connection with senior fullback Brandon Howe, who tallied 14 carries for 81 yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Sophomore running back Kori Garcia also had a nice game on the ground, carrying the ball 18 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.
“Our line did a great job penetrating the defense, and I think as a whole we played very well and efficient today,” Brown said.
Brown broke off on a couple long runs, including one for 57 yards and another for a 32-yard touchdown on a designed run.
Brown ran up the middle, found no room and bounced to the outside where he had one cornerback to beat. He juked left before leaving the corner chasing his steps.
Defensively, the Mustangs had an excellent showing. Portland State featured a balanced attack, but Cal Poly’s defensive unit proved themselves more than up to the challenge.
“For those first three quarters, defensively, I don’t think we’ve played much better,” head coach Tim Walsh said.
Senior linebackers Cameron Ontko and Nick Dzubnar led the defense with 12 and 10 tackles, respectively. Dzubnar had two and a half tackles for loss and also had a couple jarring hits in the game.
The cornerbacks also played excellent coverage.
Defensive back Alex Suchesk nearly had a takeaway in the second quarter, but he saw a pass go through his hands on what would have been a remarkable catch. Suchesk was running alongside the receiver before turning finding the ball and leaping outstretched in front of the receiver to nearly catch the ball.
“We pinpointed what we were doing wrong,” Howe said. “We were tired of losing, this was a big win today.”
The win follows an 0-2 start for the Mustangs, who fell by scores of 28-10 and 44-18 to New Mexico State and South Dakota State, respectively.
“I don’t think the scores are indicative of how good we are, but we hadn’t played four quarters,” Walsh said.
The staunch defense coupled with an extremely efficient rushing attack is an encouraging sign moving forward. The Mustangs totaled 471 rushing yards and 531 yards of total offense.
“One thing that’s very important for our offense, the triple option, is establishing the run,” Howe said. “Once we do that, it condenses the defense and opens up everything else.”
The Mustangs will look to follow up this strong showing with their first Big Sky Conference game on the road against Northern Arizona next Saturday at 4 p.m.