Cal Poly football remained winless in conference play after a 40-31 loss against Idaho State on Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Holt Arena.
The Mustangs (1-5, 0-3 Big Sky) couldn’t put points on the board early and made plenty of mistakes late, while the Bengals (1-6, 1-3 Big Sky) held on for the win during their homecoming game.
Idaho State struck first with a 51-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Benjamin Omayebu on the third play of the game.
Cal Poly couldn’t match Idaho State on their opening drive as redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Brasch threw an interception on his second pass of the game.
The Bengals would capitalize off this turnover and put together a seven-play, 52-yard drive that was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Raider Hunter to put the Bengals up 14-0 early on.
The Mustangs marched down the field on the very next drive, with Brasch going 6-for-7 for 76 yards including a 19-yard screen pass to redshirt freshman running back Zion Hall, who scampered into the endzone to cut the lead in half and bring the score to 14-7 with 4:12 to go in the first quarter.
Idaho State began to drive down the field with two 12-plus yard gains to put them in Mustang territory as the first quarter came to a close.
Continuing their drive in the second, Idaho State failed to convert another first down and lined up to attempt a field goal. However, the 42-yard attempt bounced off the right upright and the score remained 14-7.
Cal Poly couldn’t make anything of their next drive and was forced to punt, but they got the ball right back when an Idaho State pass was intercepted by redshirt freshman defensive back Dominick McCormack on the very next drive.
After another Mustang punt, the Bengals capitalized on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and sophomore running back Keoua Kauhi broke off a 60-yard touchdown run the very next play to put Idaho State up 21-7 with 2:56 left in the half.
The Mustangs punted again, setting Idaho State up for a two-minute drill that ended in a field goal to put them up 24-7 going into the break.
Cal Poly opened the second half with the ball, and Brasch threw another interception to hand it right back to their opponent.
The Bengals didn’t miss a beat and junior running back Soujah Gasu broke off a 25-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive to bring the score to 30-7.
The Mustangs then answered with a quick five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 19-yard pass to redshirt freshman tight end Josh Cuevas to cut the lead to 30-14.
Idaho State hit right back with a 71-yard touchdown to go up 37-14.
After a lost fumble by the Mustangs gave the ball right back, the Bengals went three-and-out to set up a 48-yard field goal by Cal Poly to bring the score to 37-17.
Idaho State then was forced to punt, and the Cal Poly offense then put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Brasch’s third touchdown pass of the day to make it a two-score game at 37-24.
The momentum continued to shift for the Mustangs following yet another three-and-out for the Bengals.
After the Idaho State punt, Brasch completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Zedakiah Centers to bring the score to 37-31 with 9:05 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs and Bengals went silent on offense for a few possessions, but the Cal Poly defense stepped up and forced a fumble with 2:45 left on the clock to give the Mustangs a chance to win the game.
Brasch, however, couldn’t step up when it counted, and threw his fourth interception of the game, sealing the game for Idaho State.
The Bengals kicked a 44-yard field goal to put the game out of reach for good.
Spencer Brasch was hot and cold throughout the entire game, completing 30-of-48 pass attempts for 392 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Cuevas led the way with 86 receiving yards and a touchdown while graduate wide receiver Chris Coleman, who was quiet in the first half, ended with five receptions for 84 yards.
The Mustangs will come home and look to snap their four-game skid against Eastern Washington on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.