They rolled in. At a pace that mortals should not be able...
Mustangs Double-Up Bears, 56-28
Deonte Williams found the end zone three times on runs of 15, 11 and 5 yards as Cal Poly convincingly beat Northern Colorado 56-28 Saturday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo. Williams rushed for 117 yards on 22 carries to go along with his 3 scores. Running back Kristaan Ivory also found the endzone twice on the ground from 37 yards and 8 yards out, contributing 46 yards on just 3 carries. As a team, the Mustangs gained 308 total yards on the ground on 57 carries.
Quarterback Andre Broadous combined for 263 total yards, 68 on the ground and 195 through the air. Broadous efficiently racked up his 195 yards passing with 9 completions on only 12 attempts. Broadous threw for 2 touchdowns, one for 45 yards to Willie Tucker and another for 30 yards to Brandon Michalkiewicz.
Cal Poly’s offense was an amazingly clutch 11 for 13 on third down.
Junior defensive captain Sullivan Grosz led the Mustangs’ defense, sacking Bears quarterback Seth Lobato three times.
The Mustangs scored with incredible balance, posting 14 points in each in all four quarters. Northern Colorado matched the Mustangs in the first quarter with 14 points of their own, but Cal Poly’s defense stiffened in the 2nd quarter and didn’t relent until the 4th quarter, when the second team defense starting getting mixed into the game. The Bears then scored their other two touchdowns in garbage-time.
Early in the contest Cal Poly was impressively crisp on offense, as Broadous played mistake-free and Williams was getting downhill and falling forward with ease. The Northern Colorado defense honestly looked over-matched from the get-go.
Halfway through the first quarter with Poly up 7-0 after a 8-yard Kristaan Ivory touchdown run, Broadous’ only major mistake of the game occurred. While keeping over the right side, Andre fumbled and Northern Colorado recovered inside the Cal Poly 20. Bears running back Tremaine Dennis then found his way towards the goal line over his next three carries, finding the end zone to tie the game at 7.
The Mustangs then got back on track with their bread and butter, as Williams fought for first downs on option pitches and inside trap plays. Once Poly crossed midfield into Bear territory, Broadous hit Willie Tucker streaking deep across the field on a 45-yard touchdown. Broadous commented in a post-game radio interview with Tom Barket on ESPN Radio 1280 that a couple of years ago he would have never been able to make that throw or even would have thought of trying it. He admitted he would have just tucked it away and got what he could have with his legs. The growth and maturity of a player is a great thing to see unfold.
As the first quarter came to a close, Northern Colorado answered Poly’s big play with another score of their own, as Lobato found tight end Darin McDonald in the end zone from 22 yards away to tie the score at 14. At this point it looked as if the game was shaping up to be a track meet.
Poly answered back early in the 2nd quarter with a Kristaan Ivory 37-yard scamper on the pitch to make the score 21-14. Then, the Mustang defense stiffened.
Defensive ends Andrew Alcaraz and Jake Irwin started getting better up-field penetration, putting a post in the defense against Northern Colorado’s off-tackle play. This change forced Bears running back Tromaine Dennis back inside to the teeth of Poly’s defense, instead of allowing him to have the choice to bounce to the outside and extend cutback opportunities in the open field.
The Mustangs added another score after a Northern Colorado punt, as Deonte Williams took a trap play back inside away from option action, a staple of the Poly offense, for a 5-yard plunge, bringing the score to 28-14, where it stayed until halftime.
Cal Poly did not come out with any sense of complacency to start the second half. After a stellar special teams tackle on the kickoff, the Mustangs recovered a fumble by Northern Colorado inside the Bears 25.
Deonte Williams then cashed in that turnover for Poly, taking in his 2nd score of the game, this one from 11 yards out. The Mustangs held a commanding 21-point lead, 35-14, with only 2:24 elapsed in the 3rd quarter. Credit Poly’s coaching staff for keeping their team fired up, and the players for having the killer instinct to put someone away when you have them down. This is the sign of not just a good team, but potentially a great one.
On their next posession, the Mustangs strung together back to back big plays. Broadous hit Cole Stanford down the left seam for 38 yards, and then took it himself on an option keeper for another 25. Deonte Williams smelled the paint along the right side he juked, spun and then lunged his way into the end zone for his 3rd and final score of the night, this one a 15-yard work of art, bringing the score to 42-14 Cal Poly.
Broadus capped off the final first-team drive of the game with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Michalkiewicz, in which the receiver navigated two defenders both during and after the catch, crossing the goal line as the defenders ran into each other. It was a play indicative of the overall Mustang dominance on this night. Poly lead 49-14 with 12 minutes left to play.
After a Northern Colorado touchdown, the Mustangs second-team offense, led by Vince Moraga, countered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a short Ryan Soloman plunge with 3:47 remaining, making the score 56-21. It was Soloman’s first career touchdown.
Cal Poly improves to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Sky. Northern Colorado falls to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the Big Sky.
The game was televised on KSBY and was broadcast by recent Fansmanship Podcast guest Bill Halter along with Andrew Masuda. KSBY will again televise next week’s game as head coach Tim Walsh and his Mustangs will take on his former team, the Portland State Vikings (2-4, 1-3 Big Sky) at Spanos Stadium. The Vikings are coming off a bye week, and the week before the bye they demolished Idaho State 77-10. The Mustangs are an even 9-9 all-time against Portland State.
If you haven’t had a chance to see this Mustang offensive machine yet this season, I highly recommend you check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Game time is 6:05pm Saturday night. Get there.
Photos by David Livingston