Cal Poly football extended their losing streak to five as they fell to the University of Eastern Washington by a score of 17-10 on Saturday, Oct. 22 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Mustangs (1-6, 0-4 Big Sky) struggled with turnovers on offense, while the Eagles (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) did just enough to earn their first conference win of the season.
Both teams traded three-and-outs on their first drives until redshirt freshman quarterback Kahliq Paulette was brought in and broke off a 57-yard touchdown to give the Mustangs the early 7-0 lead.
Eastern Washington responded on the next drive with a 32-yard touchdown by sophomore wide receiver Efton Chism III to bring the score to 7-7 with 8:08 left in the first quarter.
After an unsuccessful Mustang drive, the Eagles put together a 13-play drive that resulted in a 35-yard field goal, bringing the score to 10-7 and giving Eastern Washington the lead with 25 seconds left in the quarter.
The rest of the drive, however, resulted in a missed field goal and no points for Cal Poly.
The Mustangs and Eagles would trade possessions until Cal Poly marched down the field and ended up at the Eastern Washington 25-yard line.
The momentum was short-lived, however, as Kelly threw an interception with 1:10 left to play in the half.
On the very next play, true freshman defensive back Jay’vion Cole had an interception of his own to give the ball right back to the Mustangs.
Cal Poly couldn’t gain any yardage on the drive but was still able to capitalize on the field position as sophomore kicker Jaden Ohlsen nailed a 33-yard field goal to bring the score to 10-10 as the half came to a close.
Eastern Washington started the second half with the ball and on the second play of the drive, Cole recorded his second interception of the night.
Cal Poly marched down the field once more after the interception, but Kelly threw his second interception of the game in the end zone.
Eastern Washington couldn’t get anything going on their next drive, but the Mustangs gave the ball right back to them on a botched handoff.
The Cal Poly defense held the Eagles to a field goal attempt that was blocked by defensive back Cole, who seemed to be taking over the game at this point.
“[Tonight] boosted my confidence for sure,” Cole said postgame.
Both teams exchanged punts as the quarter expired while Cole almost had his third interception of the night.
The Eagles put together a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 20-yard touchdown catch from redshirt junior wide receiver Freddie Roberson to give Eastern Washington a 17-10 lead with 8:54 left in the game.
The Mustangs had excellent field position after the kickoff and an opportunity to tie the game, but redshirt freshman running back Zion Hall coughed the ball up and the Eagles regained possession.
Eastern Washington had a fumble of their own on their next drive that was recovered by the Mustang defense with 5:59 left to play.
Kelly looked to lead the team down the field and tie the game up, but he threw his third interception of the game on the third play of the drive.
The Cal Poly defense held Eastern Washington to a fourth down, and the Eagles elected to go for it and try to seal the game. They did just that, as Chism III converted the fourth down and sealed the game for the Eagles.
Head Coach Beau Baldwin cited the number of turnovers, which was four, postgame.
“We just got to take care of the ball better,” Baldwin said
After redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Brasch was taken out of the game after one drive, Baldwin opted to go with Paulette and Kelly for the remainder of the matchup. It is unknown the direction that Cal Poly will go under center for the rest of the season.
The Mustangs now look towards next week against UC Davis on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. inside the UC Davis Health Stadium.