Quarterbacks Andre Broadous (left) and Doug Shumway (right) warm up before the Mustangs game against Fresno State. Nha Ha – Mustang Daily

FRESNO — Cal Poly quarterback Andre Broadous stood outside the visiting locker room at Bulldog Stadium after the Mustangs’ loss. The taste of defeat sunk in as his back slouched up against the concrete wall. His eyes were fixed straight ahead of him, locked onto nothing in particular. The game was disheartening and he couldn’t exactly pin what he had on his mind.

There was only one thing that was for sure.

“I’m disappointed,” Broadous said. “But like Coach said, we got to move on and come ready to play next week.”

His team just lost 38-17 to the one opponent on the schedule they had been looking forward to all year. This was the game against Fresno State, the one everyone had been waiting for.

The Mustangs couldn’t grab the win.

“It was a big loss for us,” Broadous said. “I think we played hard but we didn’t execute on all cylinders.”

There was a small cut on the right side of his nose, a minor injury caused by the Bulldogs’ defense during the game. This wasn’t the type of defense Cal Poly was used to seeing in the FCS. These guys were bigger, faster and knocked Broadous and his teammates around multiple times. All game, the Mustangs took punch after punch from a Fresno State defense that held the Mustangs to just 203 yards on the ground.

At first, it was Cal Poly calling the shots.

They smacked the Bulldogs in the mouth out of the gates when cornerback Asa Jackson intercepted a Ryan Colburn bomb and returned it 47 yards on Fresno State’s second drive. The Mustangs fired another blow, with a 30-yard field goal from Jake West — putting the Mustangs ahead 3-0.

Then the underdog stumbled. Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn got time in the pocket and took his shots downfield.

“We did all that we could do,” Jackson said. “(Colburn) had a good game, he was throwing the ball pretty effectively … their offensive line was real big and they were blocking us well on the (defensive) line.”

The Bulldogs came back with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Colburn in the first quarter. He then connected on another deep pass, a 44-yard strike to Matt Lindsay down the field, and Tracy Slocum punched it in on the next play from 14-yards out. To add on, Fresno State’s special teams stepped in. They blocked a punt from Chris Pinto in the Mustang end zone, recovering it for a touchdown.

With Cal Poly staring at a 21-3 deficit, Broadous answered. He led the Mustangs on an 11-play, 73-yard drive, which he capped with a 10-yard touchdown throw to Dominique Johnson. The pass was Broadous’ first completion of the game and his first-career touchdown pass. Overall, he finished the game with a team-high 82 yards on the ground and 18 yards through the air.

“I think I did pretty good, but I know for sure I can do better,” Broadous said. “I just got to get this out of my system and come back next week ready to play.”

Broadous may have had his moments against the Bulldogs in the first half, but it was Fresno State’s quarterback who stole the show in the second half. Cal Poly’s defense couldn’t keep up as Colburn led his team to 17-unanswered points through the remainder of the game. Missed tackles, blown coverage and big plays told the story. In the third quarter, Fresno State’s Robbie Rouse ran in a nine-yard touchdown run and in the fourth Bulldog A.J. Johnson caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap the scoring.

After pulling within four, the Mustangs couldn’t land the plays for the upset. Fatigue and the Bulldogs’ physicality led to the collapse, head coach Tim Walsh said.

“The second half they just wore on us,” Walsh said. “I give them a lot of credit for being physical and sticking to that game plan to wear us out.”

Overall, the Mustangs surrendered 132 yards on the ground and 263 yards of total offense in the second half. Fresno State out-gained the Mustangs through the entire game, 459-221, while also out-rushing the Mustangs on the ground 253-203.

Broadous said the Mustangs stayed on track with their game plan but just couldn’t execute the big plays for the win. The Mustangs drove, but couldn’t cap drives with scores.

“As the quarterback of the offense I think we played pretty good at spurts,” Broadous said. “I mean we didn’t execute, we had a lot of good drives but we didn’t finish on a lot of drives.”

Credit Fresno State defensive tackle Logan Harrell — and the rest of the Bulldogs’ defense — for that, as he led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles. Behind him, Phillip Thomas and Travis Brown racked up nine tackles.

On the other side of the ball, Colburn led the Bulldogs through the air with 209 yards and two touchdowns. Slocum and Rouse were the top Bulldogs on the ground, rushing for 71 yards and 70 yards respectively.

Against Fresno State, the Mustangs gave up their highest point total of the season. Despite the numbers on the scoreboard, Walsh said his players fought a tough battle.

“The No. 1 thing is that we asked our guys to play hard,” Walsh said. “I think we wore out a little bit with their size and a little bit of their speed, but I think from an effort standpoint, I found out our team has a lot of courage. I thought we played hard.”

The Bulldogs were bigger and their defense was one of the fastest defenses players like Broadous had ever seen, he said;  it was all too much for the Mustangs. While the Mustangs may have seemed over-matched, there is still a lot they can take from this game, Walsh said.

“What I learned (is) we’re tough, we got a lot of resiliency and we’ll come back and be a good football team against who we have to compete against,” Walsh said.

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