Cal Poly Football Notebook: Offense runs smoothly behind Graves

Mustangs' third starting quarterback this season plays like he did at Folsom High during his state championship-winning career

jscroggin@thetribunenews.comOctober 13, 2013 

Cal Poly running back Kristaan Ivory finds running room as quarterback Dano Graves (4) looks to block during the host Mustangs’ 47-0 win over Weber State on Saturday night.

LAURA DICKINSON — ldickinson@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

In the Cal Poly football team’s 47-0 win against Weber State on Saturday, Mustangs sophomore quarterback Dano Graves made his first collegiate start since winning a CIF Division III state title for Folsom High back in 2010.

With former starter Chris Brown out for the game with a hip injury and season-opening quarterback Vince Moraga gone with a season-ending knee injury, Graves was backed up by redshirt freshman Tanner Trosin, who also followed Graves as the starter in Folsom.

But a lesser-known Folsom standout also had a collegiate first.

Redshirt freshman receiver Carson McMurtrey had his first career catch on a 14-yard gain that helped set up a Cal Poly touchdown in the final minute of the first half.

McMurtrey came to San Luis Obispo with less fanfare than either of the two quarterbacks, but catching passes from Trosin in 2011, he tallied 51 receptions for 987 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season at Folsom.

WHEELER SITS OUT HOMECOMING

Former Templeton High and Allan Hancock College standout Chris Wheeler came into the game as Weber State’s second-leading tackler.

The senior safety was poised to start the game back in his home county and was with the Wildcats in Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Saturday, but Wheeler was held out as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Wheeler, a two-time all-conference honoree while with the Bulldogs and a starter for his entire career with Weber State, still has 42 tackles, three for loss, and one quarterback hurry on the season.

CAL POLY PLAYERS SIT, TOO

As expected, the Mustangs were without junior receiver Willie Tucker, who sprained his knee in last week’s loss to Yale.

Senior cornerback Vante Smith-Johnson also missed a start for the first time this season after he hurt his hamstring against the Bulldogs.

But even though Tucker was on crutches, he was active in the Cal Poly huddles during timeouts and breaks in play.

Tucker could be seen encouraging first-time starting quarterback Dano Graves and the rest of the offense.

Smith-Johnson, who was dressed in his uniform but did not play, was there to council his fellow defensive backs, even though he was stuck on the sidelines, too.

ZALUD MAKES RARE MISS

When Cal Poly converted its first score of the game on a 3-yard run by Kristaan Ivory, senior kicker Bobby Zalud ended an impressive streak of made PATs.

The former Arkansas State transfer failed on the ensuing kick, his first missed PAT in his Cal Poly career.

Prior to the miss, Zalud had been perfect on 70 PATs since replacing former kicker James Langford after Langford transferred to Cal prior to last season.

GROSZ GETS ANOTHER SACK

Cal Poly senior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz had two sacks in the season opener against San Diego back in August, but the Mustangs failed to record a single additional sack since.

That streak ended Saturday when Grosz again got in the act, taking down Weber State quarterback Austin Chipoletti for an 8-yard loss midway through the second quarter.

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