Football Falls 56-21 at #24 Cal Poly
Junior running back David Woods led the Bears offense, rushing for a career-best 130 yards on 25 carries. He also threw a pass for 35 yards to senior wide receiver Andy Birkel settting up the Bears' first score of the evening, and returned two kickoffs for 43 yards. Woods racked up 173 yards of total offense, the highest total in the Scott Downing era. Junior quarterback Mike Vlahogeorge completed 13-of-21 passes for 118 yards, while junior tight end Ryan Chesla caught a team-best five passes for 59 yards and a career-best two touchdowns. Junior defensive back Eric Brown returned five kickoffs for 62 yards on the evening and junior linebacker Cristian Sarmento led the team in tackles for the second-straight game, tallying 10 on the evening.
Cal Poly running back Jono Grayson led the Mustangs with 127 yards rushing, while quarterback Jonathan Dally completed six-of-eight passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and Ramses Barden brought in four catches for 158 yards. Fred Hives II and Mark Restelli led the team with 12 and 11 tackles, respectively.
Cal Poly won the coin toss, deferring to the second half. The Bears elected to receive the ball and started the game on offense, going three-and-out on the first possession, while the Mustangs scored a touchdown on their first possession, going 51 yards on five plays in 2:11. Cal Poly also scored a touchdown on its second possession, going 82 yards in eight plays using 3:23 of the clock.
The first quarter ended with the 14-0 Mustangs advantage and they added to their total just 1:12 into the second, extending the lead to 21-0 on a 6 play, 88 yard drive in 2:23. The Bears drove the length of the field, fumbling the ball on the end zone and giving the ball back to the Mustangs. The defense stayed tough, forcing a Mustangs punt.
The Bears broke out a little "trickery" on the next drive, as Vlahogeorge handed off to Woods, who then completed a pass to Andy Birkel for a 35-yard gain to the Cal Poly 15. A few plays later, Vlahogeorge threw into traffic in the end zone and Ryan Chesla came up with the ball in the midst of four defenders, putting the Bears on the scoreboard with 4:24 left in the half. The Bears drive went 48 yards on six plays and used 2:39 to make the score 21-7.
Cal Poly answered on its next drive, scoring on a 14-yard quarterback keeper to increase the lead back to three touchdowns, 28-7. The Mustangs used just 1:51 to drive 59 yards on six plays. Mendoza punted with under a minute remaining in the half, pinning Cal Poly on the one-yard line and after two plays, the teams entered the locker room with the score 28-7.
On the first drive of the second half, Woods continued his great running game, scoring a 10-yard touchdown with 8:11 in the third quarter. Freshman Zak Bigelow's kick was good closing once again within 14, 28-14. The scoring drive was 12 plays, 87 yards, using 4:27 of the clock.
Cal Poly again increased the lead to three scores, driving 66 yards on eight plays in 2:57 for the 35-14 advantage. Vlahogeorge left the game with 4:01 remaining with a left leg injury and would not return. Dominic Breazeale came into the game and ran two plays before the Bears turned the ball over on downs. A 61-yard pass to Ramses Barden put the ball on the three yard line for Cal Poly and two plays later Dally punched it into the end zone for the Mustangs for a 42-14 lead.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Cristian Sarmento recovered a fumble and Breazeale threw a 30-yard touchdown to Chesla on the first play and Bigelow's kick was good, making the score 42-21 with 14:08 left to play in the game. Dally rushed for his fourth touchdown of the game on the ensuing drive for Cal Poly for the 49-21 lead. The Mustangs went 63 yards on eight plays in 3:46. Cal Poly scored one more touchdown in the contest, scoring on a Kevin Spach three-yard run with 4:02 remaining for the final score of 56-21.
Northern Colorado returns to Big Sky Conference action next week as it heads to