FRESNO — All week long leading up to the Cal Poly football team’s 38-17 loss to Fresno State, Mustangs head football coach Tim Walsh preached one principle to his defense.
Keep the ball in front of you.
But just minutes apart in the first quarter, after Cal Poly had held the Bulldogs scoreless on their first two drives, the Mustangs couldn’t execute Walsh’s plan.
Fresno State receiver Isaiah Burse turned a short out pattern into a 58-yard catch and run for the Bulldogs’ first score of the game.
And after another deep pass over the middle, running back Tracy Slocum gave Fresno State a 14-3 first-quarter lead by bouncing an off-tackle run to the left where a Cal Poly defender appeared to have arms wrapped around him near the line of scrimmage.
The Mustangs had trouble bringing down Slocum, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound power back who had 8 carries for 71 yards in the game.
WHEN IT COUNTS
There was one glaring statistical anomaly as time was counting toward the half in the second quarter: Cal Poly had yet to complete a pass.
Despite that fact, the Mustangs drove all the way to the Fresno State 10-yard line while trailing 21-3 with less than a minute left before the half.
It was then that Cal Poly quarterback Andre Broadous completed his first pass of the game, a 10-yard strike on a slant pattern to senior receiver Dominique Johnson that helped cut the Fresno State lead to 21-10 with 46 seconds left in the half.
It was the first touchdown pass of the season for Broadous, who was making his second career start after leading the Mustangs to their first road victory under Walsh in a 40-14 upset of McNeese State last week.
Broadous only put the ball in the air three times in the first half, but he ran 17 times for 70 yards.
The last time Cal Poly got through an entire game completing just one pass was in a 28-10 loss at Ohio in September 2009.
BROWN MAKES BIG IMPACT
Fresno State linebacker Travis Brown, the son of late Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Brown, played a big role in stopping Cal Poly’s triple-option offense early in the game.
Before he died of a brain tumor in 2009, Dan Brown was an assistant for 12 years under Pat Hill at Fresno State.
Prior to his arrival in Fresno, Brown served two seasons as an assistant with Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh, when Walsh was the head coach at Portland State.
Travis Brown had six tackles and one for a loss in the first quarter alone and finished with 9 tackles, 2 for loss.
AROUND THE FCS
Former Atascadero High and Allan Hancock College quarterback Gunnar Jespersen did not get into the end zone for Central Connecticut State, but he helped the Blue Devils (3-2, 2-0 Northeast Conference) to a 24-14 win over Sacred Heart (1-4, 0-3 NEC) in Fairfield, Conn.
Jespersen ran for 71 yards and was 9-of-16 passing for 75 yards and an interception.
Next week’s Cal Poly opponent, Old Dominion (3-2), beat Gardner Webb 14-7.
And there should be a new No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision polls. No. 1 Villanova lost 31-24 to No. 7 William & Mary.