Lone Scrimmage of Fall Camp Set for Saturday in Alex G. Spanos Stadium

Lone Scrimmage of Fall Camp Set for Saturday in Alex G. Spanos Stadium

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly's lone scrimmage of Fall Camp will be held Saturday morning inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

About 50 plays are planned in four segments, with special teams work interspersed between the segments. First play of the scrimmage is slated for about 9:45 a.m. and the final play will be called about an hour later.

Admission is free.

Coach Tim Walsh's Mustangs hit the field July 26 and have been practicing six times per week, taking Sundays off. Fall Camp concludes a week from Friday and the players will rest for two days before beginning preparations Monday, August 21, for their Week Zero opener August 26 against Colgate.

Cal Poly returns 53 lettermen, including 13 starters (five on offense, eight on defense), from the 2016 squad which claimed its fourth NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth, a fourth straight No. 1 ranking in team rushing during the regular season and another top-five finish in the 13-team Big Sky (the fourth in five years as a member of the conference).

The Mustangs are ranked No. 23 in both the media and coaches preseason polls.

Cal Poly and Colgate kick off the 2017 campaign at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, with the non-conference game to be televised nationally by ESPNU.

In other Cal Poly football news:

• Senior fullback Joe Protheroe is among the 42 players listed on the Football Championship Subdivision National Performer of the Year Trophy watch list presented by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA).

The 2017 CFPA FCS National Performer of the Year Trophy is a 22-inch K-9 optic crystal tower with an eight-inch crystal football on top. All FCS players are eligible for the award. The award winner will be announced Jan. 10, 2018.

Protheroe, who has already accumulated numerous preseason honors, enters his final season as a Mustang No. 8 on the career rushing chart with 2,297 yards. Named to the Walter Payton Award watch list earlier this month, Protheroe is an All-Big Sky Conference Preseason Team member for the second straight year.

Protheroe is a two-time STATS FCS All-American and two-time first-team All-Big Sky Conference honoree. He rushed for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns last year as Cal Poly finished 7-5 overall and earned an FCS playoff berth for the fourth time in the last 12 seasons.

A graduate of Clayton Valley Charter School in Concord, Calif., Protheroe was the Big Sky's top rusher last fall and No. 9 in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Other players from Big Sky Conference schools on the National Performer of the Year Trophy watch list are Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud and North Dakota running back John Santiago.

• Cal Poly, ranked No. 23 in the preseason STATS national media poll earlier this week, also has been ranked No. 23 in the FCS Coaches preseason poll. The Mustangs earned 85 points from the 26 voters, all head coaches of FCS schools, two per conference.

James Madison earned 20 of the 26 first-place votes and 642 points, followed by North Dakota State with two first-place votes and 618 points. No. 3 is Sam Houston State (three first-place votes, 577 points), followed by No. 4 Eastern Washington (525 points) and No. 5 Jacksonville State (493 points).

South Dakota State, with one first-place vote and 479 points), is ranked No. 6, followed by Richmond, Youngstown State, Villanova and North Dakota. Northern Iowa is No. 20 and Weber State No. 22 while Montana, Northern Arizona, San Diego, Colgate and Southern Utah were among those receiving votes.

College Football America Yearbook ranked Cal Poly No. 30 in its preseason poll released Friday. North Dakota State is ranked No. 1, James Madison No. 2 and South Dakota State No. 3. Among Big Sky schools, Eastern Washington is No. 6, followed by No. 10 North Dakota and No. 21 Weber State.