In Saturday’s 48-35 loss to UC Davis, the Cal Poly football team gave up points like it hadn’t all season.
When UC Davis kicker Brady Stuart hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, it gave the Aggies 31 points and a 17-point lead.
Not only had the Mustangs not allowed more than 20 points in the first half all season, Cal Poly’s defense had held each of its previous five opponents to 30 points or fewer for the entire game.
UC Davis could have had even more points. Stuart missed from 41 yards on the previous possession.
The scoring was also an aberration for the Aggies. They had more than 28 points in an entire game just once in the previous seven games and just twice all season.
UC Davis had 37 points in a 77-37 loss to Montana State and 52 in a 52-17 blowout over Division II Fort Lewis.
MANZANARES, THE APPLE OF DAVIS’ EYE
While UC Davis was scoring all of those points, senior running back Gabe Manzanares had season highs against the Cal Poly defense in the first two quarters alone.
Manzanares rushed 23 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns before halftime.
He hadn’t had more than 19 carries in a game all season, and his previous season-high of 143 yards came in the blowout loss to the Bobcats on Oct. 11.
Manzanares, who was the Big Sky Conference newcomer of the year after rushing for 1,285 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, hadn’t had more than one touchdown in a game this season, one where he struggled through a foot injury early on.
He also had a 53-yard run in the first half that tied a career high.
HOWE RUN TIES IT UP
Early on, it looked as if each team would be able to maintain a high-scoring pace.
UC Davis took the opening kickoff and scored easily on its first two possessions. Cal Poly answered back both times, including a lightning quick rebuttal on the Mustangs’ second possession in the first quarter.
Fullback Brandon Howe took a carry off right guard, and once he cleared the Aggies’ front seven, the senior was off to the races.
Flashing speed unlike he ever had before, Howe ran 70 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 14 with 6:44 still left in the first quarter.
The run was a career long for Howe, who’s previous long run was a 39-yarder earlier this season, and the longest of the season for Cal Poly, surpassing grayshirt freshman fullback Joe Protheroe’s 62-yard run at Sacramento State.
CONFERENCE TD RECORD REACHED
On Howe’s score, the Mustangs tied the Big Sky’s single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a team, equaling the 39 Montana State had way back in 1936.
At that point, the 39 scores on the ground was not Cal Poly’s single-season program record.
The Mustangs had 41 rushing touchdowns in 2008, the year Ramses Barden set NCAA receiving records for Cal Poly and the Mustangs’ triple-option offense featured quarterback Jonathann Dally and slotbacks James Noble and Ryan Mole.
HORSE OF A DIFFERENT NAME
Cal Poly announced the new name of its live Mustang mascot in a halftime ceremony.
The horse had previously been introduced as Moonstar in October 2013, but by the time it debuted on the field this season, Cal Poly had retracted the name and decided to accept submissions for a new name.
The university settled on Chase in honor of Margaret Chase, who served as the interim president of Cal Poly in 1924. She is the lone female to hold the position since its inception in 1921.