PORTLAND, Oregon – Kyle Lewis, Kori Garcia and Joe Protheroe all surpassed the 100-yard mark on the ground and No. 19/20 Cal Poly produced 658 yards in total offense and never punted en route to a 55-35 Big Sky Conference football victory over Portland State on Saturday at Providence Park.
Lewis scored twice and rushed for 158 yards, Garcia added 141 yards and one score in addition to a receiving score and Protheroe produced 101 yards and two touchdowns for the Mustangs, who improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Sky play with the 500th win in program history.
Portland State, 9-3 a year ago, has lost five of its last six games, falling to 2-5 on the year and 1-3 in Big Sky contests. With the win, Cal Poly now has a 12-11 advantage in the series dating back to 1977.
Portland State held its only lead of the game by scoring on its next two possessions – an 83-yard kickoff return by Kahlil Dawson and a four-yard run by senior quarterback Alex Kuresa.
Cal Poly scored the next three touchdowns to establish control of the game, leading by two or three possessions the rest of the way.
Cal Poly's 55 points are the most since a 55-38 win over UC Davis in 2014. The trio of hundred-yard rushers are the most since four Mustangs surpassed the century mark in a loss at Southern Utah last season.
And then there are the numbers being produced by Graves (pictured above). He has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his last three games and has surpassed the 100-yard mark passing five games in a row – Chris Brown had just two 100-yard passing games a year ago.
Graves completed his first five passes and 12 of 13 for the game, netting 166 yards with three for touchdowns. In addition to the scoring passes to Garcia and Koski, Graves hit Carson McMurtrey with a 28-yarder early in the third quarter that capped the 21-0 run and gave Cal Poly a 34-14 cushion.
Graves solidified his position as the No. 1 passer in the Big Sky in terms of quarterback rating.
The Mustangs compiled 462 yards on the ground, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
Lewis now has two career 100-yard games, clinching the victory with a 70-yard romp down the right sideline for a touchdown with six minutes to play.
Protheroe has eight 100-yard games, four this season, and Garcia earned his ninth career 100-yard game. Garcia's last 100-yard game was a year ago, also against the Vikings.
With the win, Cal Poly is tied for fourth place with Montana in the Big Sky at 2-1. North Dakota moved to 4-0 with a 45-23 win over defending Big Sky champion Southern Utah while Weber State, a 45-27 winner over Montana State, and Eastern Washington, which was idle, both are 3-0.
Koski and Lewis each caught three passes for Cal Poly.
Portland State, which entered the game averaging 237 yards per game on the ground, was held to just 72 rushing yards by the Mustang defense. Kuresa completed 19 of 30 passes for 275 yards and two scores. Josh Kraght was his favorite target with six catches for 83 yards.
Cornerback Jerek Rosales led Cal Poly defensively with six tackles. Josh Letuligasenoa, Jack Ferguson and Jason Patterson were credited with sacks, Joseph Gigantino and Carter Nichols recorded pass breakups and Letuligasenoa earned a quarterback hurry. B.J. Nard notched his first interception with 4:45 to play to seal Portland State's fate.
Cal Poly plays three of its last five regular season games at home, beginning with the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe against UC Davis next Saturday at 6:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Aggies (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) defeated Northern Colorado 34-21 on Saturday.