Lauren Rabaino

Jonathan Dally is turning the 2007 football season around for the Mustangs in a big way.

Last week, the junior quarterback rushed for four touchdowns and threw two more, leading No. 24 Cal Poly (3-2) to a 56-21 victory over Northern Colorado (0-5).

Dally was named the Great West Player of the Week for the second time this season after he completed six of eight passes for 196 yards. He ran 2, 14, 1 and 7 yards for touchdowns and ran for 82 yards on 11 carries in all.

Under Dally’s leadership, the Mustang offense accumulated 612 total yards. This was the third time Cal Poly has assembled more than 600 yards of total offense since moving to Division I in 1994.

Head coach Rich Ellerson said that Dally’s strength as a player stems from his mental toughness.

“He sees the game well, and handles adversity and success with balance,” Ellerson said. “His ability to be a mentally and physically tough competitor is his greatest strong suit. He’s an elite guy.”

This is Dally’s first year as a Mustang. Last year he played at the junior college level as a Bulldog for Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.

He said that playing at the Football Championship Subdivision level has been a great experience and that he likes being on a team where everyone wants to play.

Dally didn’t hear about his latest Player of the Week award until a few days after it was announced, but appreciated the honor.

“It feels good to know that I have the opportunity to be a big part in the program,” Dally said. “But, you can’t get stats by yourself.”

At Hancock, Dally worked with head coach Kris Dutra, who said his strengths are his intelligence and management of a football game.

“His physical skills were there. Jon doesn’t repeat mistakes very much. I saw that in him pretty quickly,” Dutra said.

“I tried to teach him to work within the framework of our offense and contain him a little bit before he got out there. Once that happened, he ran the offense. I turned that over to him and became a spectator.”

So far this season, Dally has scored five touchdowns. He has passed for 1,008 yards in five games and his average individual passing per game is 201.6 yards.

When Dally isn’t on the football field, he is in the classroom studying agricultural business.

Although it could be a challenge to balance academics with athletics, Dally said that he is encouraged by his coaches to study and that the players sit down with the coaches to set up academic game plans.

His goal is to build relationships with people through football. He said that he dreams of playing at the next level.

Dally and the Mustangs have a bye this week and will play again at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at UC Davis for their Great West opener.

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