OGDEN, Utah – Ahead 17-10 at halftime, Weber State took advantage of several Cal Poly mistakes in the second half and pulled away for a 41-24 victory in a non-conference matchup of Big Sky teams Saturday night inside Stewart Stadium.
The Mustangs were halted twice by Weber State's defense at the one-yard line, fumbled a Wildcat punt, and a bad pitchout led to the clinching score, leaving both teams with 1-1 marks for the season.
Weber State amassed 457 yards in total offense, converted 11 of 18 third-down plays and had the ball on offense for 35 minutes, 15 seconds en route to its fourth straight win over the Mustangs.
On the other hand, Cal Poly finished with 346 yards of total offense, 164 on the ground and 182 more through the air. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler completed 11 of 14 passes for 182 yards and rushed for 53 yards on 19 carries. Lepi Lataimua added 70 yards on four trips, including a 50-yard touchdown run in the final quarter. J.J. Koski made six catches for 104 yards.
After Cal Poly opened the game with a 37-yard pass from Hamler to Koski – Koski made the catch despite a pass interference call on Weber State – the Mustangs were forced to punt. The two teams then traded field goals later in the first quarter.
Trey Tuttle hit his from 43 yards and Colton Theaker tied things at 3-3 with a 22-yarder. The Mustang drive of 65 yards was kept alive by three third-down conversions, all on pass plays, as Hamler connected with Quentin Harrison on 26- and 14-yarders and with Koski on a 12-yard pass.
Cal Poly put together a 90-yard, 10-play drive in the second quarter that was capped by Hamler's 47-yard option keeper around right end, giving the Mustangs a 10-3 lead.
The advantage lasted less than three minutes as Weber State knotted the score at 10-10 on a 20-yard pass from Jake Constantine to Rashid Shaheed, capping a quick 75-yard, five-play drive.
The Wildcats got the ball back with 2:02 to play and went into their two-minute drill, eventually resulting in a 22-yard touchdown run by Josh Davis with 26 seconds left before halftime. That drive measured 77 yards and took nine plays to complete.
Ahead 17-10 at halftime, Weber State got the ball to start the third quarter and immediately marched 75 yards on nine plays. Kris Jackson ran three yards around left end for the score and a 24-10 Wildcat lead.
From that point, Cal Poly committed too many mistakes to mount a serious comeback.
Cal Poly drove 74 yards on its next possession -- Hamler hitting Harrison with a 20-yard pass on the left sideline and Koski with a 39-yard screen pass, also to the left side, but couldn't get the ball into the end zone on four tries from the 10-yard line.
Still in the third quarter, another Lloyd punt was fumbled by Cal Poly and recovered by Weber State. Davis ran 18 yards on the next play for a Wildcat touchdown and a 31-17 advantage with 24 seconds remaining.
A bad pitchout by Hamler with 10 minutes left in the game gave Weber State the ball at the Cal Poly 26-yard line and the Wildcats sealed the verdict on a one-yard run by Jackson with 6:50 to play for a 38-17 lead.
Lataimua bolted through a hole on the right side and scampered 50 yards for his first career Mustang score with 6:06 left in the game.
Tuttle connected on a 30-yard field goal with 1:22 to play to cap the scoring.
Matt Shotwell made 10 tackles to lead Cal Poly defensively. Lone turnover forced by the Mustang defense was the fumble recovery by Davis in the end zone. Cecil had the only Mustang sack.
Cal Poly plays the second of three consecutive games on the road next Saturday, visiting Oregon State of the Pac-12 Conference for a 1:15 p.m. kickoff in Reser Stadium. It will be the Mustangs' first game against a Pac-12 school since a 2015 meeting at Arizona State.
Photo above of Cal Poly slot back CJ Cole courtesy of Freddie Lacey Jr. | Weber State Athletics