Cal Poly football looks to get back on their feet in Pocatello

Updated: September 30, 2017

It looks like an airplane hanger. In the past it has played like cement. The Cal Poly football team hopes it’s the site of their first win of 2017. 

Idaho State’s Holt Arena is the site of this week’s Cal Poly game. At 0-4, the Mustangs’ hopes of turning things around aren’t completely finished. A win on Saturday would mean they can probably convince themselves they’re in the playoff hunt again. A loss in Idaho would, for all intents and purposes, doom any conference or playoff aspirations the Mustangs thought they had. 

Cal Poly fans hope Khaleel Jenkins can show some big play ability in Pocatello today. By Owen Main

Hard running, and falling

The Idaho State turf has been known as being fast. It is also unforgiving. Chris Brown wasn’t the same after he played there a few years ago. Khaleel Jenkins, Jared Mohamed, and the rest of the Cal Poly offense better be ready to do what it takes. I’m not sure if knowing how to fall on concrete is different than real grass or the kind of artificial stuff that’s found in most of the Big Sky. 

Maybe Idaho State’s field has been improved in recent years. The concrete under the Holt Arena surface is definitely still there though. 

Reasons to look up

So I think of myself as a positive guy. Here are a few reasons Cal Poly fans can feel good about Friday’s game:

  • Recent dome history — The Mustangs played their best game of the season against Northern Iowa, losing in overtime. That game was played on a fast track, inside a domed stadium. Perhaps they can once again harness the big play magic they found there in Week 2. 
  • Defensive consistency — Cal Poly’s defense has been pretty darn good over the first four games. Mason Montgomery, RJ Mazolewski, and Jayson Lee have all been stellar at linebacker. The Mustangs have given up 31.8 points per game — which isn’t bad by itself. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Two Cal Poly fumbles have been run back for touchdowns and the offense has put the defense in a really bad spot at least a handful of other times. If you take away the two runbacks, the Cal Poly defense is only really giving up 28.25 points per game. That defense will have to run all over the field to stop Idaho State on Saturday. The Bengals are averaging over 430 yards per game on offense and tend to get a big bump whenever they play at home. 
  • Offensive experience — The triple option is an offense that you get better at calling as time goes on. Every game should be a lesson that makes calling the game a little better. Maybe the explosive plays work better in domes for some reason. 

Kyle Lewis’ ability to get free on the edges and make big plays seems to be directly correlated to Cal poly’s offensive success so far this season. By Owen Main

You don’t score, until you score

The offense is averaging 18.8 points per game so far this season. If it stood, that would be the lowest output in over a decade. In 2009, the Mustangs averaged 23.5 points per game, but they have been on a pace of over 30 points per game in 7 of the past 10 seasons.

Here’s hoping that fast Holt Arena turf can help Cal Poly produce more points today en route to their first win. 

The alternative — an 0-5 start — would be rather grim. 

Season 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Points/Game 18.8 34.7 33.8 33.8 28.5 36.7 32.4 27.8 23.5

In 2008, Cal Poly averaged over 44 points per game and over 39 points per game in 2007. Dang.