For the fourth game in a row, costly mistakes were a killer for Cal Poly.
Lowlights for Cal Poly included a dropped pass in the end zone, a fumble and a busted coverage on a scramble that led to a touchdown — and that was just in the first half.
Northern Arizona held a 14-3 halftime lead and went on to win 28-10 in the teams’ Big Sky Conference opener Saturday night, handing the Mustangs their fourth loss in a row to open the season and their first defeat in a conference home opener since 2007.
Offense Sputters Again
After a big offensive output last week against Northern Iowa, the Cal Poly offense couldn’t get going against NAU.
Junior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins had just 8 yards passing through two and a half quarters before connecting with J.J. Koski on a 60-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds left in the third quarter. He picked up a few yards in garbage time and finished the game with 148 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 5-of-14 passing. Jenkins should have had another touchdown pass on the first Cal Poly possession, but Victor Beglitsoff dropped a ball in the endzone.
Running back Chuby Dunu had a fumble in the first half and a botched reverse in the second half that led to a NAU touchdown and a 28-3 lead that send Mustangs fans to the parking lot.
The lone offensive bright spot was senior fullback Jared Mohamed, who had 124 yards on 29 carries.
The Cal Poly offense finished with 55 rushing plays for 178 yards.
Cookus With Gas
Meanwhile, NAU quarterback Case Cookus was on fire.
The junior Thousand Oaks native was 35 of 46 for 406 yards and four touchdowns. The Cal Poly secondary had trouble keeping up with NAU senior wide receiver Elijah Marks. He was able to either making the catch or drawing a penalty and finished the game with 14 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
Paso Robles native Jonathan Baldwin, who had a large following in the stands cheering him on, played well in his return to the Central Coast. He had three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Cal Poly (0-4) will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to take on Idaho State next Saturday.