Credit: Maddie Harrell | Mustang News, 2021

Cal Poly football fell on the road against South Dakota, 38-21, in its final non-conference game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 17 inside the DakotaDome.

The Mustangs (1-2) managed to put together drives of 55, 75, 72, 61, 66 and 80 yards, but only saw three drives result in points. The Coyotes (1-2), on the other hand, accumulated three touchdown-ending drives in their first three drives of the game.

South Dakota struck first with a 75-yard touchdown rush from quarterback Carson Camp.

Cal Poly marched down the field in an attempt to respond to the Coyote score. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jaden Jones connected with redshirt sophomore receiver Zedakia Centers for a 35-yard completion before Centers fumbled to end the drive at the South Dakota 20-yard line.

After the turnover, South Dakota scored again on a five-play, 80-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead halfway through the opening quarter.

In the second drive of the game, Jones was forced to leave with a knee injury. The Mustangs are awaiting the results of an MRI to determine the significance of the injury, but he was seen on the sidelines in crutches and a knee brace.

Redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Brasch replaced Jones and found freshman receiver Logan Booher for a 35-yard touchdown to put Cal Poly on the board, trailing 14-7.

The Coyotes quickly responded with a three-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 21-7 as the first quarter came to a close.

To open the second quarter, Brasch led the Mustangs on a 14-play, 72-yard drive that ended after a turnover on downs at the South Dakota 16-yard line.

After exchanging punts, the Coyotes missed a 46-yard field goal to end the first half and take their 21-7 into the locker room.

Both sides stepped up their defenses to open the second half, as neither team was able to score in the third quarter.

However, the Coyotes scored early in the fourth on a 70-yard touchdown pass to stretch their lead to 28-7.

Cal Poly responded with a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ended with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Brasch to Centers to cut the South Dakota lead to 28-14.

The Coyotes would not flinch, assembling a 10-play, 82-yard touchdown drive to go ahead 35-14.

A quick touchdown drive from the Mustangs followed, with Brasch finding graduate receiver  Chris Coleman for a 26-yard touchdown pass to narrow the Coyote lead to 35-21 with 6:21 left in the game.

South Dakota turned around and burned three minutes on a drive that ended with a 21-yard field goal, giving them a 38-21 lead.

Cal Poly was unable to answer, falling 38-21.

After taking over for Jones, Brasch finished the game completing 24 of 42 passes for 362 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Redshirt junior running back Shakobe Harper led all rushers with 110 yards on 11 attempts, his first 100-yard game as a Mustang.

On the receiving end, Centers finished with four receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Coleman followed suit with seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. 

As a team, Cal Poly had more first downs than the Coyotes (26-20) despite trailing in total yards (559-560).

The Mustangs return home for their Homecoming Game and Big Sky opener against rival Sacramento State on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 5:02 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.