Ryan Chartrand

Karl Ivory is a former Cal Poly cornerback who finished up his eligibility in 2004. He has shed his helmet and pads for a pen and notebook as a special football analyst for the Mustang Daily. Here is what “Coach K” has to say about this week’s matchup:

What makes a champion?

Champions know how to get up when it’s difficult, and that’s what you saw last week. The Mustangs went up against a new and improved Southern Utah team and persevered when they needed to. For the fans in the stands it was a real nail-biter, where we saw the Mustangs come from behind to win 18-14 with the defense forcing four turnovers in the fourth quarter and Randy Samuel killing any chance of a Thunderbirds upset win with an interception – his third of the season – that allowed the Mustangs to run the clock out.

Even though I don’t believe the game should have been that close, the defense did only allow one touchdown and the offense did find a way to win.

This week the Mustangs will go up against last season’s co-Great West Football Conference champion and rival UC Davis. Need I say more?

Cal Poly Offense vs. UC Davis Defense:

Week in and week out we have seen the Cal Poly offense struggle through the air. Ramses “The Giant” Barden is off to a great season, averaging 17.5 yards a catch, which makes him a serious deep ball threat. Meanwhile, “Big Game” James Noble has been running hard for the Mustangs.

With all the recent changes on the offensive line, the biggest question is can they hold it together against a hard-nosed UC Davis defense? The Aggies are led by Jonathan Barsi and Nevan Bergan, the team’s top two.

UC Davis is known for its stingy and hard-nosed run defense. So if Cal Poly can put together a solid running performance, that will allow Barden to get behind the defenders on play-action passes.

Cal Poly Defense vs. UC Davis Offense:

Over and over again, the Cal Poly defense proves to be the best defense in Division I-AA, and after last week’s impressive performance, who can doubt it?

This defensive unit just seems to find a way on every play to bring it. The UC Davis offense is capable of putting up huge numbers through the air with Walter Payton Award candidate quarterback Jon Grant and I-AA All-American wide receiver Tony Kays as well as Chris Carter.

These three have shown to be a capable force in the Great West. The key to this matchup will be the pressure put on by the defensive front of Cal Poly, forcing Grant into bad decisions and allowing Courtney Brown and the secondary to have a field day with interceptions.

Coach K Predicts:

Cal Poly 13, UC Davis 10 in a Horseshoe Classic instant classic.

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