FOOTBALL TOPPED BY NO. 25 CAL POLY, 31-17
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. --- Cal Poly jumped to an early start and never relinquished the lead as the No. 25 Mustangs claimed a 31-14 win over Sacramento State, Saturday night at Mustang Stadium. The win improved Cal Poly to 2-0. The Hornets dropped to 1-2.
Tyronne Gross recorded his second-straight 100-yard game.
The Mustangs found the end zone just four plays into the game when Geno Randle dashed 62 yards on a delayed draw to put Cal Poly on top. 7-0. After both teams exchanged punts, the Mustangs struck again on a 71-yard interception return from David Richardson.
Sacramento State appeared to have matched the touchdown on its next possession. Sophomore Tyronne Gross dominated the series, amassing 66 of the teamâ€™s 80 yards. However, on the final play of the drive, Gross reached for the pylon in the right corner of the end zone and the referees ruled a fumble giving Cal Poly a touchback.
The Mustangs used the momentum to methodically drive 80 yards in 7:19. Quarterback Chris Peterson capped the 14-play drive with a 1-yard sneak to make the score 21-0 three seconds into the second quarter. The Hornets posted their first points on the next drive with a 4-yard run from Gross. The final points of the first half came on a Byungwoo Yoon 20-yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 17-point lead.
The second half began with some surprise as Sacramento State starting quarterback Ryan Leadingham was sidelined by an injury. Sophomore Blake Mori completed 5-of-9 passes in the third quarter but the Hornets did not score in the period.
The Hornets narrowed the gap early in the fourth quarter with a 20-yard field goal from Mitch Lively. After a stop from the Sacramento State defense, the Hornets were on the move until Mori was intercepted by Courtney Brown setting up a 7-yard touchdown from Brandon Shepard.
Mori responded with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Kenan Smith with 3:19 remaining in the game. Down, 31-17, the Hornets attempted an on-side kick which was recovered by Cal Poly.
Gross was the bright spot for the Hornets, recording 135 yards. The Stockton, Calif., native has now posted back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time in his career and leads the team with three rushing touchdowns. Junior Fred Amey led the receivers with seven receptions for 112 yards. Smith added five grabs for 73 yards.
Randle led a balanced Cal Poly rushing attack with 101 yards. Shepard tallied 61 while Peterson amassed 58. The Hornet defense was able to limit Peterson to just 37 passing yards on 3-of-11.
Defensively, Sacramento State was guided by Ryan Kroeker with nine tackles. Jeremy Johnson added seven and Ramon Payne, Park McAllister and James Henderson tallied five. Junior Kevin Tennerson recorded his team-leading second interception in as many weeks.
All-American linebacker Jordan Beck led all players with 15 tackles. Raj Thompson and Mike Hayes also had seven for the Mustangs.
Sacramento State outgained Cal Poly, 361-315, in total offense, In fact, after allowing the Mustangs 158 total yards in the first quarter, the Hornets surrendered 157 yards in the final 45 minutes.
The Hornets will have a bye this upcoming week before beginning its Big Sky Conference season on Sept. 27 at home against Idaho State. The game against the Bengals will start at 6:05 p.m.