Ian Billings/Mustang News

Cal Poly trailed 21-7 at halftime, but rallied in the second half to beat Portland State in its first Big Sky Conference game of the season on Thursday night.

Mustang News Staff Report

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What became a theme for the Cal Poly football team in its previous two losses to FBS schools turned into the difference on the scoreboard Thursday night.

The Mustangs, down 21-7 at halftime, rallied in the second half of their first Big Sky Conference game of the season to defeat Portland State 38-34 at Jeld-Wen Field.

After outscoring both Fresno State and Colorado State in the second half by a combined 18 points over its last two weeks of play, Cal Poly (2-2, 1-0 Big Sky) did more of the same to the Vikings (3-2, 0-1) in Portland. The Mustangs put up 30 points in the second half and held Portland State to 14 to hold on for the four-point win.

Junior slotback Kristaan Ivory led the way with 184 yards on a career-high 32 carries and scored a touchdown in the victory. Sophomore quarterback Chris Brown also eclipsed the century mark scampering for 129 yards and a score on 21 carries.

Brown also completed six of 18 passes, but threw two of those for touchdowns as he accounted for three scores on the night.

Portland State struck early when Justin Lilley scored on 3-yard run just less than five minutes into the game. The Vikings extended their lead to 14 on their ensuing possession before Kristaan Ivory found the end zone late in the second quarter. Portland State added another quick score with 12 seconds remaining in the half to open a 21-7 lead at the break.

But Cal Poly came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders as junior wide receiver Chris Nicholls scored on a rush from 18 yards out early in the third quarter and freshman slotback Kori Garcia found the end zone on a 14-yard pass five minutes later.

Senior kicker Bobby Zalud’s 32-yard field goal with 12:42 to go in the game put Cal Poly on top 24-21 marking the first time since the season-opener against San Diego that the Mustangs held the lead over their opponent.

Brown capped off Cal Poly’s scoring with a 1-yard rush to pay dirt late in the game and Portland State’s scoring efforts fell short as time expired giving the Mustangs the win.

Cal Poly garnered 518 yards of total offense, 431 of which came on the ground. The Mustangs managed 367 yards in the second half and held one of the nation’s most potent offenses to 487 on the night. The Vikings had averaged 612 yards and 43 points per game entering the contest.

Cal Poly returns home to take on Yale on Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for 2:05 p.m.

Stephan Teodosescu contributed to this report.

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