The football team’s regular season comes to a close tomorrow with senior night taking place before the Mustangs match-up against Idaho State in Mustang Stadium at 7 p.m.
This week, Cal Poly (7-3, 4-1 Great West) moved up two spots in the national rankings to No. 13 after defeating Southern Utah 20-10 last Saturday. The Mustangs gallopped higher in the polls for the second time in as many weeks since falling to No. 18 after a loss to UC Davis in the “Horseshoe Classic” on Oct. 29.
Coming off two consecutive wins, the Mustangs look to finish the season on a winning note against the Bengals, a program which until last year held a four-game winning streak over the Mustangs’. Cal Poly put the loosing skid to an end with a 35-20 victory last season in Pocatello, Idaho.
In the 14 previous games, the Mustangs hold an 8-6 series advantage against Idaho State.
The two teams share five common opponents this season in Southern Utah, Eastern Washington, Montana State, Montana and Sacramento State. In those games, the Mustangs’ only loss came at the hands of Montana 27-36 while the Bengals lost to Montana 10-32 and Montana State 28-30.
Offensive redshirt freshmen have stepped up this season to make their presence felt as running back James Noble, quarterback Matt Brennan and wide receiver Ramses Barden are leading the way.
Noble has topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark and he did it while sitting out for games against Troy State and UC Davis. He currently has a 7.6-yard per carry average and a total of 1,057 yards. He has also reached the endzone six times.
Brennan averages 77.7 yards per game in six appearances this season having started half those games. He has amassed 466 yards, has throw for three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Holding down the Mustangs’ defense is senior defensive end Chris Gocong and junior linebacker Kyle Shotwell. They will have to contend with the Bengals’ dual rushing attack that has improved upon last season’s 70 yards per game average by nearly doubling the number to an average of 161.5 yards per game.
The Bengals’ running attack is led by Josh Barnett and Kevin Cornist. Both players have an equal amount of touches, 158, this season but Barnett has 840 yards and four touchdowns while Cornist has 712 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Idaho State’s sophomore quarterback Matt Hagler will also challenge a Mustang defense that has surrendered an average of 217 yards a game. Hagler has thrown for 1,820 yards and completed 153 of 273 passes. He has thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (8) this season.
Wrapping up the regular season at home will mean 13 Mustangs will play their final regular season game with Cal Poly.