FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Everyone knew coming into Saturday’s game that the Cal Poly football team’s triple-option offense was going to be a key to the Mustangs’ game against Northern Arizona.
And in a game that would decide a share of the Big Sky championship, nonetheless.
The three-headed monster —- four-headed if you count quarterback Andre Broadous — had an outstanding performance against the Lumberjacks. They were so good the NAU defense was still making adjustments midway through the third quarter.
Deonte Williams, the starting Cal Poly weak-side back, played his first game at NAU in a Mustangs’ jersey. NAU was the school that recruited and signed Williams out of high school, but that didn’t stop the senior from tearing through the NAU defense for 139 yards on 25 carries.
Williams was held scoreless, but he caused enough confusion to the NAU defense that it opened up running holes for his teammates. Even without the ball, the Lumberjacks still had to account for Williams.
Kristaan Ivory was a big key to all and any success the Mustangs had on offense. He scored a pair of touchdowns, the first from 13 yards out and the second a 1-yard bulldozer run.
Ivory was one of three Mustangs running backs with more than 50 yards as he racked up 100 on 19 carries.
Ivory was joined by Akaninyene Umoh and Williams as the Mustangs’ leading rushers. The three carried the ball 57 times for a total of 296 yards.
Umoh had 57 yards on 13 attempts.
Something the Mustangs may have surprised NAU with was their ability to move the ball through the air. Broadous hooked up for a pair of long passes, both over 40 yards. Cole Stanford — who led the Mustangs with 127 yards on 3 catches —- caught a 51-yard bomb from the senior while Brandon Michalkiewicz caught another good for 40 yards.
Broadous passed for 180 yards, going 6 for 9 with no picks and two touchdowns. The Stanford pass for 51 yards was his first touchdown and his second was a 5-yard throw to Willie Tucker.
The Cal Poly defense did everything it needed to do to stop NAU’s run-first offense. It started by holding junior running back Zach Bauman to just 44 yards on 14 carries and no touchdowns.
Bauman left the game in the second quarter with an elbow injury, and was a non-factor in the second half.
The Mustangs also forced a pair of turnovers on interceptions of senior quarterback Cary Grossart.
The first pick went for a touchdown as Nick Dzubnar snagged a tipped pass out of the air and went 40 yards to the house. Jordan Williams got the other pick.
Cal Poly will have to wait until today’s selection show to find out its standing in the FCS playoffs. The selection show starts at 10:30 a.m. on ESPNU.