TEMPE, Ariz. — Cal Poly’s triple-option offense gave Arizona State everything it could handle for three quarters Saturday night before eventually coming up short.
The Sun Devils (1-1), coming off a season-opening loss to Texas A&M, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter en route to a 35-21 victory on a hot and humid night at Sun Devil Stadium.
Trailing 21-14 to start the third quarter, the Mustangs (1-1) began the second half with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive to pull even with the Arizona State.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Chris Brown’s first completion of the game landed in the hands of sophomore tight end Reagan Enger for a 21-yard touchdown. It was the first reception of Enger’s career and the score would stay tied heading into the decisive final period.
Protheroe, Mohamed torch Sun Devils
After running for 112 yards on 29 carries against Montana — both career highs — sophomore fullback Joe Protheroe was effective again up the middle.
The 6-foot, 225-pound Protheroe scored Cal Poly’s first touchdown of the game, capping an eight-play, 64-yard drive that cut the Mustangs’ deficit to 14-7 in the second quarter.
A heavy dose of Protheroe and sophomore Jared Mohamed kept the Sun Devils on their toes during that drive and breathed some life into what had been a stagnant offense to that point.
Protheroe and Mohamed combined to rush for 164 yards on 26 attempts in the first half and finished with a combined 205 yards on 39 carries.
Mohamed has been a welcome, if unexpected, addition to the Mustangs’ backfield.
The fourth Mohamed brother to play football at Cal Poly — following Marty, Kyle and Dylan — Jared Mohamed was recruited out of Brawley High as a linebacker and switched to fullback when he joined the Mustangs.
Mohamed used his redshirt year in 2013 and was member of the team in 2014, although he did not play in any games. A standout spring and the competition with Protheroe helped paved the way for two strong performances to start the 2015 season.
Foster’s record pace continues
With his catch on the first play from scrimmage, fifth-year Arizona State senior D.J. Foster extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 42. That’s the second-longest streak in Arizona State history and trails only John Jefferson’s school record of 44.
Foster, a Scottsdale, Ariz., native, caught six passes for 58 yards and one touchdown. He also had 12 carries for 76 yards for the Sun Devils.
QB Graves stays home for second week
Reserve quarterback Dano Graves did not travel with the team for the second consecutive week.
The Cal Poly senior was not with the team during its trip to Missoula, Mont., last week and he stayed home again for the Week 2 game in Tempe.
Head coach Tim Walsh said before the season the Mustangs would ideally like to use Graves’ redshirt year this fall and have him return to be the starter in 2016.
Redshirt junior Andrew Barna and true freshman Khaleel Jenkins have traveled with the team as the No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks, respectively.