Credit: Maddie Harrell | Mustang News, 2021

Cal Poly football opened its season with a 35-7 loss against Fresno State on Thursday, Sep. 1 inside Valley Children’s Stadium in Fresno.

The Mustangs (0-1) have now lost to the Bulldogs (1-0) for the ninth straight time, with all nine games being played in Fresno.

Head coach Beau Baldwin made the decision to start redshirt freshman quarterback Jaden Jones in the season opener, as Jones beat out redshirt junior Spencer Brasch to make his first start for the Mustangs.

Cal Poly’s first three possessions resulted in a total of 10 plays and 23 yards, including two three-and-outs. On the other side, Fresno State’s first three possessions ended in three touchdowns to take a commanding 21-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Cal Poly seemed to find its footing when Jones led the offense on a nine-play, 75-yard drive ending in a nine-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior receiver Bryson Allen. Redshirt junior running back Shakobe Harper produced a 28-yard run during the drive to fuel the offense.

The Mustang defense also stepped up in the second quarter, stuffing the Bulldogs on back-to-back drives. 

Jones led the offense on another 11-play, 84-yard drive, resulting in no points after going for it on fourth down and failing to convert at the Fresno State eight-yard line.

Fresno State made its way into field goal range to end the half but missed the 40-yard attempt to close the half up 21-7.

Following punts from both teams to open the second half, Fresno State found the endzone again after a three-play, 34-yard drive to extend their lead to 28-7.

Looking to respond, the Mustang offense put together a 16-play drive that once again ended with no points on the board after not converting a fourth-down attempt at the Bulldog five-yard line.

The Bulldogs responded with their own 16-play drive that ended with another touchdown, pushing their lead to 35-7.

For the third possession of the night, Cal Poly found itself with a chance to score. A 14-play drive placed the Mustangs on the Fresno State one-yard line, but Harper was stuffed on fourth down to turn the ball over. 

Fresno State would take over and run out the clock to secure a 35-7 win over the Mustangs.

Jones showed off his passing and rushing abilities, going 20-of-38 with 211 passing yards while leading the team with 59 rushing yards.

In his Cal Poly debut, Allen caught six passes for 52 yards and the only touchdown. Graduate receiver Chris Coleman, a former Bulldog, caught three passes for a team-high 74 receiving yards.

Cal Poly will look to bounce back in their home opener against San Diego on Saturday, Sep. 10 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.