No. 19/20 Cal Poly Rallies for 45-23 Big Sky Victory Over Weber State
OGDEN, Utah – Senior quarterback Andre Broadous threw a career-high three touchdown passes, sophomore slotback Kristaan Ivory and sophomore fullback Brandon Howe both scored twice and junior defensive tackle Barrett Wangara returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown as No. 19/20 Cal Poly rallied to defeat Weber State 45-23 in a Big Sky Conference football game Friday night in Stewart Stadium.
Junior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz made two quarterback hurries and broke up a Wildcat pass, all in the final five minutes of the third quarter, and sophomore defensive end Jake Irwin hit the arm of Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke which led to Wangara's interception return for a touchdown as the Mustangs improved to 5-0 on the year and 3-0 in Big Sky games.
Weber State fell to 0-6 and 0-3.
Cal Poly rallied from 6-0, 13-7 and 20-14 deficits to keep its record perfect, winning its first five games of the season for the first time since the 2004 squad went 7-0 en route to a 9-2 campaign.
Ivory's second touchdown of the game, a five-yard run, gave Cal Poly a 21-20 lead with 5:52 to play in the third quarter.
Wangara's interception return made it 28-20 with 3:23 to go in the third period and junior placekicker Bobby Zalud kicked a 44-yard field goal as Cal Poly took a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Willie Tucker caught a 34-yard scoring pass from Broadous and Howe scampered 37 yards for his second score as Cal Poly built a 22-point cushion in the final period.
Broadous, who had thrown two touchdowns in a game five times in his Mustang career, completed six of 11 passes for 99 yards. Howe, who ran eight yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, was his top receiving target with three catches for 23 yards.
Ivory, who caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Broadous in the second quarter, rushed for 89 yards on just 10 carries and one score. Howe (pictured at left), who replaced starting fullback Akaninyene Umoh (hamstring), added 78 yards on nine trips.
Senior slotback Deonte Williams, who tied a school Division I record with four consecutive 100-yard games to open the season, was slowed by an ankle injury and finished with 31 yards on six carries. He entered the game No. 5 in the FCS with 152.2 rushing yards per game.
C.J. Tuckett rushed for 98 yards on 19 carries for Weber State and Hoke completed 22 of 39 passes for 291 yards and one score. He was sacked three times and was hurried on four other plays. Tuckett caught seven passes for 56 yards.
Cal Poly's defensive leaders were sophomore linebacker Nick Dzubnar with 15 tackles, junior defensive back Alex Hubbard with 14 stops and senior linebacker Kennith Jackson with 11. Junior defensive end Grant Goebel notched two Mustang sacks and junior nose tackle Nick Leyden earned the other.
Cal Poly won despite several Weber State advantages in the final statistics, such as 29-18 in first downs, 528-345 in total offense and 38:50 to 21:10 in time of possession.
Weber State had been outscored 31-0 in the first quarter, 110-12 in the first half and had never led this season until Shaun McClain kicked field goals spanning 22 and 46 yards for a 6-0 Wildcat lead in the opening period.
Weber State led 13-7 on Erik Walker's nine-yard pass from Hoke midway through the second quarter and Tuckett's six-yard run in the third period gave the Wildcats a 20-14 lead five minutes into the second half.
Cal Poly, which has won six straight games over the last two seasons, played its first Friday night game in 50 years. The Mustangs played at Santa Clara on a Friday night in 1962. Weber State was playing its first Friday night game ever. The game was moved up 24 hours due to the LDS General Conference this weekend.
The Mustangs, who lost eight straight games on the road from 2008-10, including an 0-6 mark in 2009, have won their last four road games and eight of 14.
Cal Poly football, presented by French Hospital Medical Center, plays its next two games at home, hosting Northern Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 13, for Parent and Family Weekend and Portland State on Saturday, Oct. 20, for Homecoming. Both games in Alex G. Spanos Stadium will kick off at 6:05 p.m.
Photos by Jon Kasper/Big Sky Conference