Junior quarterback Andre Broadous scored two touchdowns on Saturday night in addition to rushing for 81 yards. Max Zeronian - Mustang Daily

The Cal Poly football team overcame a fourth quarter deficit for the second consecutive week and defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 31-27 and moved to 1-0 in the Great West on Saturday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Mustangs, however, also suffered a big loss in the form of Asa Jackson. He was injured on the opening kickoff in the second half and did not return.

Trailing 27-24 with three minutes remaining in the game, the Mustangs retook possession on their own 30-yard line. Quarterback Andre Broadous led Cal Poly down the field swiftly with the help of 33 rushing yards of his own and a 17-yard run on a reverse to running back Jarred Houston.

Inside the Thunderbird 15-yard line, slotback David Mahr took a pitch from Broadous then threw it back to the quarterback open in the flat. Broadous was leveled by a Southern Utah defender, but he held on to give the Mustangs a first down on the 5-yard line. Broadous was hurt on the final play of the Southern Utah game last year, but he said he wanted the ball in his hands again, no matter what. Head coach Tim Walsh agreed.

“(Broadous) is one of our best players, and we aren’t going to shy away (from giving him the ball),” Walsh said. “You’ve got to take advantage of each game, each week. You can’t worry about what happens next week, and that’s what (our players) wanted too.”

Broadous finished the drive with a 4-yard rushing touchdown putting the Mustangs ahead with 45 seconds to go.

“It felt like our season was on the line,” Broadous said. “It felt like, offensively, it was do or die. When we saw them hit the field goal, we knew it was now or never and it was a playoff game.”

On the following Thunderbird possession, quarterback Brad Sorenson was sacked by Kyle Murphy on third down, then was intercepted by Greg Francis on a last second hail mary.

“This really boosts us up,” Francis said. “We know we’ve got to take this one game at a time, and we’ve got to win out from here, but we’re going to do it.”

Francis nearly intercepted a Thunderbird pass on a tipped ball on the play before Southern Utah took the lead on the field goal, but Cal Poly cornerback Bijon Samoodi ran into him knocking the ball away.

“In the past two years, we haven’t been able to come back from deficits in the first half,” Broadous said. “But this year, we’ve been able to play well in the second half and make some adjustments.”

The loss of Jackson was still on the minds of coaches and players after the game, and Walsh said he was unsure about his status, only saying that if Jackson thought he could have played, he would have.

Jackson sat on the bench for most of the third quarter as teammates and coaches came over to console the senior safety who had two inception returns for touchdowns this season.

“We told (Jackson) that we were playing this game for him,” Broadous said. “For him to have the year he was having, then to go down to injury, I know that hurts. I (went) through that last year. … So we pretty much had to play for him on offense and defensive.”

The Mustangs deferred to start the first half and Southern Utah promptly drove 60 yards into the endzone putting Cal Poly in an early 0-7 hole. Cal Poly responded on its second drive with a 17-play march that featured two conversions on fourth-and-inches and a 14-yard pass to Jake Romanelli on third and 14.

Still, Cal Poly was stopped short of the goal line, forcing James Langford to kick a 33-yard field goal. Broadous scored the first Mustang touchdown with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter. Mustangs capitalized on fourth down from the 1-yard line recovered a fumble at midfield. A reverse by Houston picked up 15 key yards, in addition to a Romanelli rush to inside the 10 on the same drive.

The Mustangs travel to North Dakota for their second Great West game of the season next weekend then return home on Oct. 29 to face South Dakota during Parent’s Weekend.

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