Cal Poly’s defense failed to contain UC Davis as the Mustangs (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) dropped the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe by a score of 48-24 on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Cal Poly has now lost back to back conference matchups while the Aggies (3-4, 1-2 Big Sky) secured their first conference win of the season.

After the Mustangs won the coin toss and deferred, UC Davis sophomore running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. — who ended the game with 195 all-purpose yards — broke off a 56-yard run down the middle of the field. The play set up a 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 Aggies lead.

After Cal Poly was forced to punt, the UC Davis offense advanced down the field and took a 10-0 lead with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Maier to wide receiver Junior Harrell. 

The Mustangs were forced to punt yet again while the Aggies took advantage of their momentum with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Aggies wide receiver Khris Vaughn. Another punt from Cal Poly gave UC Davis good field position for their third touchdown of the first quarter: a 5-yard touchdown run from Gilliam that provided the Aggies a dominant 24-0 lead.

In the second quarter, the Mustangs best drive of the game was shut down after a pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by the Aggies. UC Davis quickly turned the interception into a touchdown as Gilliam tallied his second score of the game to give UC Davis a 31-0 lead.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler run the ball against UC Davis on Oct. 12. Courtesy | Karen Froyland – Davis Enterprise
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler run the ball against UC Davis on Oct. 12. Courtesy | Karen Froyland – Davis Enterprise

The Mustangs finally got on the scoreboard with just over three minutes left in the first half after allowing another field goal on the defensive end. Cal Poly’s touchdown was courtesy of a 1-yard rush by sophomore fullback Duy Tran-Sampson that was set up by a 15-yard catch from senior wide receiver J.J. Koski. The Mustangs forced the Aggies to punt and followed with a 53-yard field goal by freshman kicker Colton Theaker to end the first half 34-10.

Both squads exchanged unsuccessful drives to begin the second half until Hamler unloaded a 51-yard touchdown pass to Koski with 7:15 to go in the third quarter.

Cal Poly’s defense continued to hold UC Davis  in check and shut them out in the third quarter at a score of 34-17.

Hamler threw another deep touchdown pass to open up the fourth quarter. The 69-yard pass to junior wide receiver Quentin Harrison got the Mustangs within 10 points of the Aggies. Fueled by momentum, the Cal Poly defense forced a turnover and gave the offense excellent field position to cut the Aggies lead again.

However, Aggies linebacker Nick Eaton penetrated the offensive line, picked off an attempted pass from Hamler and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown.

Cal Poly failed to come back from the 17-point deficit while the defense allowed one final touchdown pass to end the game at the final score of 48-24.

Junior slotback Lepi Lataimua led the Mustangs’ rushing game and totaled 97 yards on eight attempts. Koski added 163 yards and a touchdown to his season total.

The Mustangs will return to Spanos Stadium next week to take on North Dakota on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 5 p.m.

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