The Griz arrive in Vermillion with their entire offense and eight defensive starters from a squad that lost five games last season, three of which came by four points or less. They could have secured a playoff berth in the season finale against rival Montana State, but a fumble in the final seconds dashed their hopes. I think the last eight-plus months have been really productive for our team. The 6-foot-3, redshirt senior logged a school-record tackles in and was the FCS Statistical Champion for tackles per game Olson is a disruptive presence for a defense that allowed
Spanos Stadium cap. The Bobcats are ranked No. Pregame show starts at p. Links for audio and video streams as well as live stats are available on the football schedule page at www. Cal Poly racked up yards of total offense in a season-opening win over San Diego, led by redshirt freshman Jalen Hamler and sophomore fullback Duy Tran-Sampson.
Opening a three-game road trip in Ogden, Utah, four weeks ago, the Mustangs were held to rushing yards and had the ball for just 24 minutes, 45 seconds in a setback versus Weber State, Cal Poly's fourth straight loss to the Wildcats.
Hamler completed 11 of 14 passes for yards and rushed for 53 yards and one touchdown 47 yards. Lepi Lataimua ran 50 yards for a score and Brandon Davis recovered a blocked Wildcat punt in the end zone for a touchdown.
Playing its second game ever against a Pac school three weeks ago, Cal Poly fell at Oregon State. Tran-Sampson rushed for yards on 29 carries and Hamler hit redshirt freshman wide receiver Xavier Moore with an eight-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, tying the game at The Beavers scored 38 unanswered points to win going away.
The Thunderbirds had a chance to send the game into overtime, but a yard field goal attempt with to play hit the left upright and Cal Poly was able to run out the clock.
The run started with a fumble recovery in the end zone and was followed by four rushing touchdowns. First two drives were 90 and 89 yards while the last two were just 20 and 33 yards after a fumbled Northern Arizona kickoff return and a Montana State interception.
The Bobcats rushed for yards, led by Travis Jonsen with yards and two touchdowns, while Tucker Rovig completed 11 of 23 passes for yards.
Under fourth-year head coach Jeff Choate , Montana-Western '93 , Montana State returned a total of 39 lettermen, including 13 starters — six on offense and seven on defense — off last year's squad which finished tied for fourth in the Big Sky and reached the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Troy Anderson, last year's quarterback, returns to his more familiar positions at running back and linebacker this fall. The Mustangs and Bobcats are meeting for just the fourth time in the last 14 years and for the 17th time since the series began in The two schools did not meet from Cal Poly owns a advantage in the series, winning eight in a row before Montana State earned a victory in the Big Sky opener for both schools at Bozeman.
The two teams met in , also in Bozeman, with the Bobcats racing to a third-quarter lead and holding off the Mustangs down the stretch. Ifanse rushed for yards and three touchdowns in a showdown with Cal Poly's Joe Protheroe, who ran for yards.
Protheroe, then a sophomore, netted yards on 27 carries and slot back Kori Garcia added yards on 19 trips for the Mustangs. Montana State, which runs multiple offensive sets and a defense, averages yards and 35 points per game, rushing for yards and passing for yards each contest.
The Bobcats have allowed yards and 26 points a game, including on the ground and through the air. The Bobcats are sixth in the Big Sky in total offense and No.
The Bobcats appeared in the FCS playoffs four times in a five-year span from , claimed at least a share of the Big Sky title three straight seasons and captured the FCS national title in Choate became Montana State's 32nd head football coach on Dec.
Cal Poly returned 10 starters on defense and six on offense. Biggest holes to fill were at outside linebacker three players with five or more starts are gone and right up the middle on offense — Protheroe, quarterback Khaleel Jenkins and center Harry Whitson, one of four offensive linemen with five or more starts who are gone.
Whitson is now an offensive analyst with the Mustangs. Protheroe amassed 1, yards on carries last season, raising his career totals to carries and 4, yards, all new school records. His 23 career yard games, including five over the yard mark, also are school records, and Protheroe earned seven All-America honors in after leading the Big Sky and FCS in rushing.
Jenkins rushed for yards and passed for more yards, accounting for nine touchdowns in each category. Top Mustang returnees are wide receiver J. Koski , offensive linemen Paul Trujillo-Langdon and Tyler Whisenhunt and the top four tacklers on defense in — inside linebackers Matt Shotwell 90 tackles and Nik Navarro 83 tackles , cornerback Kitu Humphrey 67 tackles and safety Carter Nichols 59 tackles.
Koski led the Mustangs in receiving for the second straight year with 33 catches for yards and four scores in Trujillo-Langdon moved from right guard to center to replace Whitson and Whisenhunt remained at left tackle after earning second-team All-Big Sky honors a year ago.
Drew Hernandez yards, 7. Hamler won a three-man battle with sophomore Kyle Reid and junior Jake Jeffrey for the vacant quarterback position.
On defense, only two of the top 10 players at the three positions on the defensive front last year are gone. Sophomore Jojo Falo made five starts at defensive tackle, sophomore Pono Faaagi started seven games at nose tackle and sophomore Myles Cecil played all 11 games with seven starts at the defensive end spot.
Cecil had 39 tackles, Falo 15 and Faaagi 11 a year ago. Falo suffered an injury on the first play of the San Diego game and could be out for the season. Dominic Frasch, the national leader in passes defended a year ago, has moved on, but the secondary has plenty of returning experience.
Junior field cornerback Kevin Howell played in nine games in while senior Sharky Reza 15 tackles, five pass breakups in tops the field at boundary corner. Senior Carter Nichols 59 tackles, five pass breakups in and junior Bradley Mickey 10 tackles are the top two candidates at field safety while senior Kitu Humphrey 67 tackles, nine pass breakups returns for his final season at boundary safety.
Coached by Tim Walsh 11th season at Cal Poly , 29th season overall , UC Riverside '77 , Cal Poly's football program celebrated a trio of milestones last fall. The Mustangs played their th season on the gridiron and 25th at the Football Championship Subdivision formerly Division I-AA level while Walsh completed his 10th season at the helm of the Cal Poly football program.
Cal Poly played eight games against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at one time or another last season.
In addition, Sacramento State earned votes in a preseason poll while Southern Utah earned a share of the Big Sky title in Despite the difficult schedule, the 14th-toughest in the nation according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, the Mustangs managed a four-win improvement over Cal Poly, which captured the Big Sky title in its first year in the conference, was picked to finish ninth by both the head coaches and the media in the team Big Sky this fall.
The Big Sky lost North Dakota in its lineup last fall, though the Fighting Hawks will continue to play a Big Sky schedule as an independent for one more season before moving to the Missouri Valley Football Conference in Idaho, once a Pac-8 member in the s, returned to the Big Sky last fall after an year run in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Mustangs have won 65 of their last 90 home contests 72 percent and, overall, Cal Poly has won of its last games 57 percent going back to the finale and has won 23 of its last 55 and 42 of 93 on the road while producing 12 winning seasons in the last 18 years.