After the Mustangs went 4-7 last season under head coach Tim Walsh, the Mustangs responded by going 7-4 this year.
Cal Poly started off the season hot and grabbed a season-opening win against Humboldt State.
The following week, against then No. 1 Montana, the Mustangs pulled off what could have been the biggest upset in Cal Poly history. In the game, the Mustangs’ starting quarterback Tony Smith was injured during the second quarter. With second-string quarterback Andre Broadous also out with an injury, in stepped third-string quarterback Doug Shumway.
And in his first extensive playing time — ever — for the Mustangs, Shumway didn’t disappoint.
He connected on two touchdown passes — an 83-yarder to running back David Mahr and a 25-yarder to wide receiver Dominique Johnson — to help the Mustangs win 35-33.
From there, Cal Poly embarked on its longest road trip in program history.
The Mustangs traveled to Texas State, McNeese State, Fresno State, Old Dominion and Southern Utah over a five-week span. Cal Poly went 2-3 on the trip.
The Mustangs then won three-straight games against St. Francis (Pa.), North Dakota and South Dakota.
Cal Poly, at that point, boasted a 7-3 record and one more win would have given the Mustangs their recommended seven Division I wins to be eligible for postseason play.
They just had to get past rival UC Davis.
If the game had ended at halftime, the Mustangs would have won. The Mustangs led 21-3 and seemed to have the advantage over the Aggies in every aspect of the game.
But the Mustangs couldn’t hold on.
UC Davis scored 19 unanswered points and pieced together an 11 play, 69 yard drive in the final minutes of the game to win 22-21.
The loss knocked Cal Poly out of any chance at the postseason, but the Mustangs still finished the season three wins better than 2009.
With the Mustangs returning starters like Broadous, fullback Jake Romanelli, running back Mark Rodgers and cornerback Asa Jackson, the Mustangs may be able to make the playoffs next year — for the first time under Walsh.