Credit: Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

Cal Poly football dropped their Big Sky Conference opener to Montana by a final score of 39-7 on Saturday, Sept. 25 inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

The loss is the third in a row for the Mustangs (1-3, 0-1 Big Sky) while the Grizzlies (3-0, 1-0 Big Sky) continued their undefeated start to the 2021 season.

Montana opened up the scoring with 6:31 remaining in the first quarter courtesy of a 65-yard receiving touchdown, giving them a 7-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, the Grizzlies struck again, this time with a 24-yard Justin Belknap pick six and a two-point conversion, boosting their lead to 15-0. 

The Mustangs put together a few solid drives of their own in the second quarter, but freshman kicker Jaden Ohlsen failed to connect on either of his two field goals. Meanwhile, Montana kicker Kevin Macias drained a 24-yard attempt to give the Grizzlies the 18-0 lead, which was the score going into halftime.

The story of the rest of the game was the special teams unit of the Grizzlies. Montana opened the second half  with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Malik Flowers and, less than a minute after another TD pass by the Grizzlies, added a blocked punt by Levi Janacaro to make the game 39-0.

The Mustangs managed to avoid their first shutout since 2017 thanks to a two yard rushing touchdown by redshirt sophomore running back Shakobe Harper with 5 minutes to go, making the final score of 39-7.

Despite the final score, Cal Poly led in some major offensive categories, including first downs, passing yards and total offensive yards. A combination of three Mustang quarterbacks tossed for a total of 315 yards and the offense managed 362 total yards compared to the 352 of the Montana offense.

Cal Poly will look to bounce back next week in their homecoming game when they take on Weber State on October 2nd at 5:00PM inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

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