Cal Poly

Cal Poly lets two-touchdown lead slip away in second half to fall to Idaho State


Cal Poly looked like it had the game under control.

After the score was tied 17-17 at halftime against Idaho State on Saturday in Pocatello, quarterback Khaleel Jenkins came out of the locker room hot and threw two touchdown passes to open up a 31-17 lead late in the third quarter.

But Idaho State outscored Cal Poly 21-3 in the final 18-plus minutes to pull out the 38-34 win and hand the Mustangs their first 0-5 start to a season since 2002.

Jenkins Record Wasted

Jenkins played his most complete game of the season and set a new school record in the loss. Jenkins rushed for two scores, and his rushing total of 202 yards broke former quarterback Chris Brown’s mark of 195 yards set in 2014.

Jenkins also went 4-of-8 for 89 yards for two touchdowns passing while throwing no interceptions. His first of two touchdown passes was a 65-yard bomb to Kyle Lewis to open the second half and give Cal Poly a 24-17 lead.

It was also the first time in three games that Jenkins did not commit a turnover.

The rest of the run game was solid as well. After averaging 222 yards per game before taking on Idaho State, Cal Poly finished the game with 374 rushing yards on the afternoon. Fullback Jared Mohamed had 23 carries for 75 yards, and Lewis had his best game as a rusher with 10 carries for 53 yards.

Secondary Struggles

Cal Poly again struggled to stop the pass against Idaho State. Quarterback Tanner Gueller was 14-of-24 for 341 yards and three touchdowns. Two wide receivers — Mitch Gueller and Michael Dean — had over 120 yards receiving.

A blown coverage by the secondary late in the third quarter led to a 26-yard touchdown catch by Dean and started the Idaho State comeback.

Key Penalty

Cal Poly rebounded from a 10-0 first-quarter deficit with a pair of Jenkins touchdown runs and a Casey Sublette field goal in the second quarter and looked like it would take a 17-10 lead into the half.

Cal Poly safety B.J. Nard broke up a pass on third down with under a minute to play, and it looked like Idaho State would have to punt with the ball on the Cal Poly 45 yard line. But after the play, defensive lineman Augustino Elisaia was called for unsportsmanlike conduct to give Idaho State a first down. On the very next play, Tanner Gueller scrambled for a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17.

What’s Next

The loss puts Cal Poly (0-5, 0-2 Big Sky) at the bottom of the conference standings. The Mustangs will have to go on the road again next Saturday to take on Southern Utah in Cedar City.