Trailing by two touchdowns at halftime, 18th-ranked Cal Poly ran off 24 straight points in the second half to take control of the game, and went on to beat Portland State, 38-34, in the Big Sky Conference opener at JELD-WEN Field.
The Vikings led 21-7 at halftime and seemed in control, but the Mustangs' triple-option offense ran for 297 yards in the second half alone and controlled time of possession.
PSU led 14-0 before Cal Poly scored its first touchdown on a 17-play, 80-yard drive late in the second quarter. The Vikings came right back on a quick strike touchdown to lead by two scores at intermission.
At that point, PSU had out-gained Cal Poly 280-151. In fact, the Vikings forced the Mustangs to punt on their first four possessions. But the second half was a different story.
The Mustangs opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 65-yard drive. Chris Nicholls took a lateral pass 18 yards for a score that closed it to 21-14 Vikings.
Another 10-play drive on Cal Poly's next possession tied the game. Chris Brown found Kori Garcia on a 14-yard touchdown pass. It was the only pass of the 66-yard series.
Cal Poly out-gained the Vikings 153-42 in the third quarter. PSU's closest chance at scoring came after a David Edgersoninterception. The senior safety returned the ball to the Mustangs' five-yard line. PSU gained only one yard on three plays and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal attempt, but Nick Fernandez hooked it.
Kicker Bobby Zalud finally gave the Mustangs their first lead with a 32-yard field goal on the ensuing possession. When Akaninyene Umoh hauled in a 54-yard pass for a score, Cal Poly was up 31-21 with 10:35 left in the game.
PSU tacked on another late TD by Dean, but the Vikings could not recover the following onside kick.
Cal Poly finished with 518 yards of total offense in the game with over 350 after halftime. The Mustangs rushed for 431 yards on 79 carries and ran 97 plays in all. They held the ball for 36:39 of the game.
Kristaan Ivory ran 32 times for 184 yards and a touchdown. Brown had 21 carries for 129 yards and a score. He also threw for two touchdowns.
PSU went for 487 yards but ran 30 fewer plays. DJ Adams rushed 25 times for 126 yards. McDonagh completed 16 of 32 passes for 302 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Dean made four catches for 89 yards and three scores.
The win improves Cal Poly to 2-2 on the season, 1-0 in the Big Sky. PSU drops to 3-2, 0-1.
GAME NOTES: The Vikings are now 2-1 at home… Cal Poly Head Coach Tim Walsh was making his first appearance in Portland as a rival coach since leaving PSU in 2006… Portland State travels to Montana next Saturday to take on the nationally-ranked Grizzlies. The game is televised on Root Sports with kickoff at 12:35 p.m.
Release from PSU Media Services
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