Quick Recap: The lucky number is 11 this week, the number of years it took Cal Poly to beat the University of Montana. Another lucky number, it took Cal Poly 12 years to make the playoffs, making them the first California team to ever make the Div. I-AA playoffs field.
In a first round rematch of regular season competitors, Poly was stacked up to play the University of Montana who beat the ‘Stangs 36-27 earlier this season. Montana was not so fortunate this time around.
Cal Poly was led by another 100-yard performance from redshirt freshman James Noble and a defense that recorded seven sacks, three by Buck Buchanan frontrunner Chris Gocong.
Cal Poly pounded away for a 423-201 advantage in total offense in the game.
Now comes the quarterfinals and an even bigger challenge: How to stop “Mr. Do It All,” Barrick Nealy. Last week Nealy brought the Bobcats from behind to post a 50-35 victory over Georgia Southern.
Cal Poly offense vs. Bobcat defense
Last week’s rushing performance by Noble, 41 carries for 188 yards and four touchdowns, will be needed this week. The Bobcat defense is holding teams to 3.6 yards per carry. It’s also going to be important for the offensive line to control the line of scrimmage so the ball keeps moving and allowing Noble to Carry the load.
What’s that? Look for Poly to once again call on Noble.
Poly defense vs. Barrick Nealy
Texas State football starts and ends with Nealy. Last week he put up career numbers with 526 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. The key for Poly will be to put as much pressure as possible on Nealy when he drops back to pass, so when he does decide to run he is moving east to west rather than northward bound.
Nealy is also the team’s leading rusher with 960 yards on the ground. With Nealy’s ability to run and pass, look for Poly to play a lot of base defense to keep as many “X’s” on him as possible and try and force him into bad passes.
What’s that? Nealy is the real deal and if Poly wants to win, they’ll keep him under control.
Coach “K” Predicts: If Poly can control the line of scrimmage on offense and contain Nealy on defense, look for a Mustang victory. Special teams this week will also be key to victory. If the ‘Stangs keep the Bobcats on a long field, Poly will do just fine.
It’s going to be a nail biter, Cal Poly 31, Texas State 28.