Cal Poly football started their season with a loss to New Mexico State. | Mustang News File Photo

Rafael Salinas

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The Cal Poly football team conducted its annual spring game on Saturday, showcasing some of the talent that will play at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in the fall. Those in attendance had an opportunity to see the two leading competitors for the starting quarterback position next season.

Dano Graves and Chris Brown opened the game by alternating series. Both quarterbacks will come into the season as juniors, and head coach Tim Walsh said he “can’t tell who is going to be the starting quarterback next season.”

Walsh said no matter who the starting quarterback is this year, he has two players at his disposal who can go out and win football games.

No touchdowns were scored by the offense; the defense appeared to bend throughout, but didn’t break.

“We’re a team where if we’re forcing the other guys to kick field goals when they’re in the red zone, then we’re going to win football games,” Walsh said.

A modified scoring system was put in place, in which the offense can earn a point for a first down and two points for plays of 25 yards and longer, in addition to traditional scoring of three points for a field goal, six for a touchdown and one for an extra point.

The defense could earn a point for holding the offense to no points on a drive, three for a four-and-out drive, six for a turnover and 12 or 13 points for an interception return or fumble return for a touchdown.

Saturday’s game featured runs of 75, 70 and 60 yards by Graves, senior fullback Brandon Howe and senior fullback Brent Michaels, respectively.

The offense appeared threatening with Brown under center. He effectively ran and threw the ball off play-action; however, he never found the end zone.

“We didn’t get in the end zone and it’s tough, but we need days like this,” Brown said. “It’s tough because of the competitive edge, but I try not to think about the competition and just try and go out there and get better.”

At halftime, Graves was without pads with an ice pack against his ribs, following a play in the first half in which he was pushed out of bounds on a designed run — he tore some cartilage in his ribs.

Brown finished the day completing eight of 13 passes for 52 yards. Graves was 5 of 5 for 54 yards before sustaining his injury. Sophomore defensive lineman James Patterson injured his right knee in the game as well. Patterson is expected to replace NFL Draft-hopeful Sullivan Grosz on defense this coming season.

The Cal Poly kickers received plenty of work. Junior Stephen Pyle and three freshman walk-ons are competing for kicking duties this season. James Foug, Samuel Boyden and Ben Adam all received opportunities to kick. Foug converted on a 24-yard field goal attempt after an 81-yard drive led by Brown. Boyden was given tries of 50 and 52 yards, which he missed. Adam missed a 32-yard attempt.

The leaders on defense were redshirt freshman linebacker R.J. Mazolewsk, who recorded 11 tackles, and junior defensive back Chris Fletcher, who recorded seven tackles.

The Mustangs finished 6-6 (5-3 Big Sky) last season and open up the 2014 schedule on Aug. 28 at New Mexico State.

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