Mustang News Staff Report
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The Cal Poly football team faced a tough test Saturday, suffering a 44-18 loss at the hands of No. 11-ranked South Dakota State. The Mustangs drop to 0-2 on the season, while the Jackrabbits improve to 1-1.
The game started off well for the Mustangs, as they went toe-to-toe with the Jacks throughout the first half. The first quarter featured a massive 14-play, 82-yard drive, capped off with a 7-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Chris Brown. However, the extra point was sent off the post by junior kicker Stephen Pyle, who did not see any further action in the contest, likely due to injury.
The Mustangs put more points on the board in the second quarter with a 9-yard run for a score by sophomore slotback Kori Garcia. Without a kicker, Cal Poly was forced to attempt a two-point conversion, which was unsuccessful.
Despite ending the first half with the close score of 16-12, the Mustangs quickly lost sight of the lead.
The Jacks were able to cash in four more touchdowns in the second half, while holding the Mustangs to just one.
The one successful drive Cal Poly was able to muster in the second half was largely in part to an 89-yard gain by junior wide receiver Roland Jackson, who brought the ball all the way down to the one-yard line. Brown punched in the last yard for his second touchdown of the day.
Despite the unfavorable scoreline, there were some bright spots the Mustangs could take away from the matchup.
Brown looked much more competent under center than last week, completing 16-21 of his pass attempts for 202 yards. He also tacked on 87 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Garcia gained 86 yards on the ground in 16 attempts, adding a touchdown as well.
The Jacks received a huge output from running back Zach Zenner, who rushed the ball 30 times for an impressive 193 yards and a score, dismantling the Cal Poly defense en route to breaking the career rushing record in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The Mustangs return home to Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 20, when they will host Portland State. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m.
Nick Larson contributed to this staff report.