Ian Billings/Mustang News

The Cal Poly football team will play their final game Saturday against Northern Colorado.

Jacob Lauing
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The Cal Poly football team concludes its 2013 campaign Saturday, as it travels to Northern Colorado for an 11:05 a.m. clash.

The Mustangs (5-6, 4-3 Big Sky Conference), whose playoff aspirations were destroyed in a loss to No. 3 Eastern Washington this past  weekend, can finish as high as fourth in the conference with a win coupled with a Southern Utah loss Saturday.

Though the playoffs are no longer an option for Cal Poly, head coach Tim Walsh said he owes it to the seniors to treat this game like any other.

“Thirteen, 14 years ago, a lot of these guys put on a helmet for the first time,” Walsh said. “Fourteen years later, they might be playing their last game. (This game is) important to our seniors because they obviously love the game of football and I think they love playing here at Cal Poly.”

Walsh insists he won’t use the game as an opportunity to audition younger players for next year.

“It’s about the 2013 team,” Walsh said. “It’s not about the future as far as players.”

Northern Colorado is winless in conference play this season, having lost every game since its season opener against Langston in August.

“I have a lot of respect for the fact that they haven’t won in a while, yet their guys continually are playing hard,” Walsh said. “They have some talent. They do some things that could cause us a problem. We’ve got to pick ourselves back up off the ground.”

Despite the Mustangs’ late rally, Cal Poly fell 35-22 in the home finale against Eastern Washington on Nov. 16.

Junior slotback Kristaan Ivory rushed for 88 yards on 14 carries, raising his season total to 1,028. Ivory, who is ranked No. 5 in the Big Sky with 93.5 rushing yards per game, is the 16th Cal Poly rusher to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in single season.

Chris Brown, who took over for Dano Graves at quarterback late in the game against the Eagles, led Cal Poly on three scoring drives in the fourth quarter. If Brown is healthy enough to practice this week, the sophomore will start at Northern Colorado.

Saturday marks the final Cal Poly football game for 23 seniors, including Sullivan Grosz, Johnny Millard, Bijon Samoodi, Cole Stanford, Bobby Zalud and Lefi Letuligasenoa.

Walsh hopes to finish the 2013 season on a positive note and create some momentum heading into the winter.

“The younger classmen understand that we can create some momentum, the older guys understanding that it’s their last hoorah and they’d like to finish as high as fourth in the Big Sky,” Walsh said.

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