After two huge victories, the Cal Poly football team broke into the Top 25 for the first time this season. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Mustang News Staff Report

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The Cal Poly football team (6-3, 5-1 Big Sky Conference) is riding a five-game win streak, and the nation has finally taken notice.

After consecutive home victories over then-No. 7 Montana and then-No. 8 Montana State, the Mustangs are now ranked No. 21 by The Sports Network media poll and No. 23 by the FCS Coaches Poll.

Cal Poly is one of five Big Sky Conference teams ranked this week. Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State and Northern Arizona are also in the Top 25.

The Big Sky is extremely congested at the top of the standings, with the top six teams all sitting on one loss. Cal Poly and Eastern Washington are ahead of the other four since they have played one more conference game.

After a rocky 1-3 nonconference start, the Mustangs have found their stride in Big Sky play. They are undefeated at home, and their only loss came at Northern Arizona in a close game. The Lumberjacks were able to get into the end zone with just 21 seconds remaining, securing the victory.

“I think that loss was a huge portion of our season,” head coach Tim Walsh said. “But it also gave us confidence, I mean, we’re a play away from being 6-0 in the Big Sky right now.”

Junior quarterback Chris Brown has emerged as a star, leading the Mustangs in both rushing and passing. Brown has rushed for 953 yards and 12 touchdowns, an average of over 100 yards per game. He has also thrown for 1,141 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been the catalyst for an offense that is averaging more than 34 points a game.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Nick Dzubnar has accumulated an impressive 127 tackles, eight of which have been for a loss. He also has three sacks for a loss of 19 yards total.

Cal Poly travels to Idaho State (6-3, 4-1) on Nov. 8 to take on the Bengals, who are having their best season in 10 years.

“If you watch them play, they play extremely hard,” Walsh said. “Overall, you can see an attitude of a mature football team that gets what they’re supposed to be doing when they play the game on offense and defense. If we’re going to look by anybody, it better not be anybody that’s averaging 565 yards a game and 46 points a game. This is a pretty potent offense and if we’re looking by that, we’ll be saying goodbye to a Big Sky Championship.”

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