Cal Poly football fell short in their homecoming game by a score of 38-7 to Weber State on Saturday, Oct. 2 inside of Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
In the first home game since the home opener, the Mustangs (1-4, 0-2 Big Sky) once again had a stadium full of eager fans for the 2021 homecoming game against the Wildcats (2-3, 1-1 Big Sky).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jackson Pavitt got his first career collegiate start five games into the season for Cal Poly. Although the result was not what the young quarterback wanted, there is still a lot that can be gained from the opportunity to compete, according to Pavitt.
“It was a blast, I love football,” Pavitt said. “We’ve got stuff to work on and I’ve got stuff to work on. But I love being out there. I love every second of it. It’s an opportunity to make my teammates and my coaches proud, and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Mustang offense couldn’t find any momentum on the day as they were outgained 364 to 115 by the Wildcats.
Weber State received the opening kickoff and went to work early, scoring the first points of the game. The Wildcat offense capped off a 12-play, 79-yard drive with a rushing touchdown inside the five yard line to give them a 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Mustang offense came out a bit slower and failed to do much on the first drive of the game. However, the Cal Poly defense stepped up.
The Mustangs had the first momentum shifting play of the day when freshman defensive back Tommy Griffin forced a fumble on Weber State’s second drive of the game. Redshirt senior linebacker Aaron Cooper came up with the recovery that led to a fresh drive for Cal Poly on the Weber State end of the field.
Redshirt sophomore running back Sam Stewart jr. recorded his first two rushing attempts of the season at the perfect time. After the Mustang offense got inside the five yard line, Stewart jr. rushed for a first down on fourth and inches and took the next carry into the endzone for a Mustang touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
The Wildcats responded with another strong drive of their own. Two plays before the end of the first quarter, Rashid Shaheed made a contested catch to get the Wildcats into the red zone. Wildcat quarterback Kylan Weisser then rushed in his second touchdown of the game less than a minute into the second quarter to take the 14-7 lead.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Wildcats came back out and stretched their lead to 21-7 after Weisser found his receiver Dave Jones for an 18 yard touchdown completion.
Looking to respond, the Mustangs began driving down the field. After a would-be touchdown was called back for a penalty, the Mustangs continued to push forward. However, the drive stalled at the Wildcat 37-yard line and the Mustangs’ 47-yard field goal attempt was unsuccessful.
Cal Poly stopped the Wildcats on a two-minute drill and forced a punt with one minute to go before the half. The Mustangs lined up in their one-minute offense, but on the second play of the drive Pavitt threw a backwards pass which Weber State recovered and scored with 42 seconds before halftime to give them a 28-7 lead.
An unsuccessful opening drive of the half by Cal Poly led to the Wildcats adding another seven points to their lead with 11:09 remaining in the quarter, extending their lead to 35-7.
The Wildcats caught a break on the next drive after redshirt sophomore running back Shakobe Harper fumbled deep in Cal Poly territory. Weber State took advantage of the opportunity, kicking a 25-yard field goal to widen the margin to 38-7, a score that would stick for the remainder of the game.
The pace in the fourth quarter slowed down exponentially, with both teams looking to finish the game strong and tighten up on both sides of the ball. Neither squad was able to break the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
After the game, redshirt senior Matt Shotwell was optimistic about the direction this team is going.
“We take every day really seriously,” Shotwell said. “We’re not at the level we want to be at or need to be at, but we come out to work every single day. We still have a long way to go, still learning a new system, and it just takes time when you rebuild programs [with] new coaches and new systems. But we’re definitely on an upwards trajectory.”
Head coach Beau Baldwin had a similar attitude when looking at the future for the program.
“Absolutely there’s only up for a lot of us,” Baldwin said. “We’re young and it’s a new system, and there’s a lot of stuff that comes with that. It’s going to be a process with us, but we’re going to keep taking those steps.”
The Mustangs look to get back on track next week when they travel to Bozeman, Montana to take on Montana State on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. inside of Bobcat Stadium.