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Cal Poly football can’t hold late lead and lose to North Dakota

Alex Cloyd’s 39-yard reception from Nate Ketteringham with 1:49 to play lifted North Dakota to a 30-26 victory over Cal Poly in a college football game Saturday night inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

The Fighting Hawks erased a 23-14 deficit in the final 18 minutes of the game on a two-yard pass from Ketteringham to Cloyd, a 23-yard field goal by Brady Leach and Ketteringham’s 39-yarder to a wide-open Cloyd.

With the win, North Dakota improved to 4-3 for the season. The game counts as a Big Sky Conference contest for Cal Poly as the Mustangs fall to 2-5 and 1-3.

The loss overshadowed career highs of 40 carries and 173 yards by Cal Poly sophomore fullback Duy Tran-Sampson (pictured above). Cal Poly’s school Division I record for carries in a game is 43 by Joe Protheroe a year ago against Brown and the overall mark is 55 by Louis Jackson versus Boise State in 1980.

Cal Poly led through much of the first three quarters.

Colton Theaker kicked a 25-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game. After a three-yard run by James Johannesson gave North Dakota a brief 7-3 lead, the Mustangs answered with a five-yard run by redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler for a 10-7 advantage four minutes before halftime.

Quentin Harrison (pictured at right) caught a five-yard scoring toss from Hamler for a 17-7 lead 35 seconds prior to the break.

North Dakota outscored Cal Poly 23-9 in the second half to turn the game around.

Ketteringham’s one-yard run five minutes into the third quarter pulled the Fighting Hawks to within three points, 17-14. Tran-Sampson increased Cal Poly’s lead to nine, 23-14, with a two-yard run.

The lead dissipated with North Dakota’s two touchdowns and a field goal in the final 18 minutes. Theaker briefly halted the Fighting Hawks’ comeback with a 42-yard field goal with 3:33 to play as Cal Poly led 26-24, but North Dakota drove 74 yards in nine plays for the clinching score.

Cal Poly fell one yard shy of a first down on its final series and North Dakota was able to run out the clock. The Mustangs were four of five on fourth-down plays.

The Mustangs produced a nine-minute advantage in time of possession, 22-20 in first downs and 268 to 134 in rushing yards. There were no turnovers in the game and each team notched a pair of sacks.

Hamler completed eight of 11 passes for 95 yards and one score. J.J. Koski caught four passes for 71 yards.

For North Dakota, Johannesson finished with 82 yards on 13 carries. Ketteringham was 20 of 30 for 234 yards and two scores and Brock Boltman was his favorite target with five catches for 60 yards.

Junior linebacker Matt Shotwell led the Mustangs defensively with 13 tackles (eight solo). Donnell Rodgers had 15 stops and Noah Larson 14 for North Dakota.

Cal Poly plays another home game next week, hosting Sacramento State on Mustang Family Weekend. Kickoff in Alex G. Spanos Stadium is set for 5:05 p.m.

Story courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics.

KEYT 2019

Local Sports / Sports

KEYT News Team