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Cal Poly football ends rough season with a rare win

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Cal Poly closes out dismal season with a victory.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Quarterback Spencer Brasch passed for 415 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, and Troy Fletcher ran 14 yards for the tiebreaking score with 47 seconds left as Cal Poly defeated Portland State 49-42 in a Big Sky Conference football game Saturday night.

In snapping an eight-game losing streak, Coach Beau Baldwin's Mustangs ended the 2022 season with their second victory overall and first in conference play. Cal Poly finished 2-9 for the year and 1-7 in Big Sky games.

Portland State fell to 4-7 and 3-5.

Cal Poly overcame early 14-0 and 21-14 deficits with Brasch's four touchdown passes and a 33-yard interception return by freshman defensive back Brian Dukes, his second theft as a Mustang.

The Mustangs held 14-point leads at 35-21 and 42-28 for the first time this season before Portland State rallied with three scores to catch Cal Poly at 42-42 with 2:53 to play. Backup quarterback Nathan West tied the game with a 36-yard run down the right sideline.

After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Portland State, Cal Poly drove 60 yards on seven plays for the tiebreaking score. Brasch completed three of four passes, including a 21-yarder to Zedakiah Centers, setting up Fletcher's 14-yard run up the middle for the touchdown.

Three plays later, West was intercepted by Mustang linebacker David Meyer with 19 seconds left to seal the victory for Cal Poly.

Brasch hit Chris Coleman with a 30-yard scoring pass, Giancarlo Woods with a 33-yarder and Centers with five- and 64-yard touchdown tosses for the 35-21 Mustang lead.

Brasch finished 25 of 39 for 415 yards -- No. 4 all-time for a single game in Cal Poly history and the most since Jonathan Dally passed for 453 yards against Idaho State in 2007 -- with no interceptions and he was sacked three times. Tight end Josh Cuevas was Brasch's top target with 10 catches for 118 yards and Centers added five receptions for 143 yards and two scores.

Giancarlo celebrates touchdown catch.
Giancarlo Woods celebrates touchdown catch
with quarterback Spencer Brasch in second quarter.
Portland State starter Dante Chachere connected on six of 14 passes for 97 yards and one score, a 65-yarder to Beau Kelly, and rushed for 137 yards on just seven trips, including a 76-yard scoring jaunt, before leaving the game with an injury late in the second quarter.

Paul Holyfield, who scored a touchdown on a 12-yard run for a 42-28 Cal Poly lead early in the final period, finished with 59 yards on eight carries and Fletcher added 47 yards on 11 trips.

In addition to Chachere's 137 yards on the ground, Quincy Craig added 107 yards on 18 trips and West 94 yards on 12 carries for the visiting Vikings. Mataio Talalemoto caught six passes for 54 yards.

Despite the loss, Portland held the advantage in total offense, 574 to 482, and in first downs, 25-24. Time of possession was heavily favored by the Vikings, 36:13 to 23:47. Portland State, however, couldn't overcome three turnovers.

Cal Poly's defensive leaders were Meyer with 11 tackles and the interception and Dukes with nine stops and a theft of his own. Both now have two career thefts at Cal Poly. Zachary Hernandez also intercepted a Viking pass, his first as a Mustang, while Michael Otterstedt recorded the Mustangs' lone sack, his second of the year.

The Mustangs did not turn the ball over.

In the second quarter, Cal Poly scored 28 points in a period for the first time since tallying 28 in the first quarter of a 70-14 win over Idaho State on Oct. 20, 2012. The Mustangs' 49 points are the most since a 52-34 season-opening win over San Diego in 2019. And Brasch's 2,604 yards passing this season is No. 2 in the Cal Poly record book, behind only Seth Burford's 2,672 yards in 2000.

Fifteen Mustang seniors were honored in a Senior Night pregame ceremony -- Dylan Wyatt, Jamarri Jackson, Chris Coleman, Laipeli Palu, Dawson Hurst, Zachary Hernandez, Isaiah Hogan, Corey Thomas, Dustin Grein, Ryan Rivera, Thomas Lee, Garrett Weichman, Vatulele Finau, Eli Oreto and Michael Roth.

In addition, the nine newest members of the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame were introduced at halftime -- Chris Gocong (football), Kylie Atherstone (women's volleyball), Mitch Haniger (baseball), Peter Kline (swimming), Jill Hancock (softball), Hugh Bream (men's and women's tennis), Andre Dome (men's tennis), Elise Krieghoff (women's soccer) and Lou Montano (wrestling).

Sacramento State defeated UC Davis 27-21 in the Causeway Classic at Hornet Field while Montana State beat Montana 55-21 in the Brawl of the Wild at Bozeman as both the Hornets and Bobcats shared the Big Sky title with 8-0 marks.

(Article courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics)

Article Topic Follows: College Sports
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Mike Klan

Mike Klan is the sports director for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Mike, click here.

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