Members of the Cal Poly football team spent this past Saturday the same way most fans around the country did: tuned into No. 12 Montana’s upset victory over top-ranked North Dakota State.
Senior cornerback Karlton Dennis and the rest of the Mustangs’ secondary watched as Griz quarterback Brady Gustafson, making his first career start, passed for 434 yards and three touchdowns against the four-time defending national champion Bison.
Montana finished the 38-35 victory with more than 540 yards of offense, running 92 plays during first-year head coach Bob Stitt’s anticipated debut in Missoula.
“I think that win is great for Montana, but it was also great for the Big Sky,” head coach Tim Walsh said. “I hate to say it this way, but we were rooting for them.
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“It gives the opportunity for the Big Sky to say exactly what we think we are, and that’s the best FCS conference in country.”
Cal Poly will be without senior safety Kaulin Blair when its season begins at 6:05 p.m. Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
That means Dennis, cornerback Chris Fletcher, and safeties B.J. Nard and Kevin Griffin will likely start in the secondary.
They’ll be tasked with containing wide receivers Jamaal Jones (eight receptions, 119 yards) and Ellis Henderson (seven catches, 133 yards), who each caught touchdown passes against North Dakota State.
“If they’re going to push the tempo,” Dennis said, “we’ve got to make sure we’re ready and we’re getting the calls on the field.”
Saturday’s game will conclude a five-year agreement between Cal Poly and Montana, which was established before the Mustangs joined the Big Sky in 2012.
LaGrassa honored by Big West
Following his two-goal performance in Cal Poly’s season-opening win against UNLV,
Mustangs senior Matt LaGrassa earned his first career Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor Monday.
The first-team all-Big West midfielder scored in the 18th and 47th minutes during Friday’s match, and paced the offense with four shot attempts.
LaGrassa moved into seventh on the Cal Poly career list with 15 goals, and he’s now eighth with 35 points.
Giannetti awarded for big weekend
Cal Poly senior goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti was chosen as the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in her career, the conference announced Monday.
The Mustangs (1-1-2) split their two games at the Nike Soccer Classic over the weekend, thanks in part to Giannetti’s performance in goal.
The Yorba Linda native stopped 13 shots — the third-highest single game total in Cal Poly history — during a 2-0 loss against second-ranked Virginia, last year’s national runner-up.
In Sunday’s 2-1 win against Richmond, Giannetti recorded seven saves to become the Mustangs’ career leader in that category. With 313 saves, Giannetti surpassed Kristina Grigaitis total of 307 set from 1993-96.
Mustangs’ freshman shines in college debut
Cal Poly’s Adlee Van Winden was selected as the Big West Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday following her consecutive 14-kill performances over the weekend.
The outside hitter from Napa helped the Mustangs get off to their first 2-0 start since 2010.
She recorded a team-high 14 kills with 11 digs in Cal Poly’s season-opening 3-1 win against San Jose State on Friday.
Van Winden finished Saturday’s 3-1 victory against Sacramento State with 14 kills and eight digs.