Before Cal Poly ran a play on fourth-and-1 from the goal line in the first half, senior fullback Jared Mohamed turned toward the coaches on the home sideline.
“I definitely was trying to tell him give me the ball because I am going to get in,” Mohamed said. “I just knew I wasn’t going to be stopped.”
He was right. Mohamed jumped and twisted his way for the score to tie the game at 14-14.
Mohamed would go on to rush for a career-high 194 yards on 35 carries and another touchdown to lead Cal Poly to 35-28 win over Portland State inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium to snap the Mustangs worst losing streak in 53 years.
Mohamed, who is the fourth Mohamed brother to play for the Mustangs, has been perhaps the most consistent player for the Cal Poly offense after replacing All-American fullback Joe Protheroe, who was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the second game. After Saturday’s game, Mohamed is averaging more than 104 yards per game and has four touchdowns on the season.
On top of scoring another touchdown on a 1-yard run to put Cal Poly up 28-21 in the third quarter, Mohamed picked up two crucial first downs with less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter as Cal Poly held its lead.
“It was amazing,” Mohamed said to reporters of ending Cal Poly’s eight-game losing streak. “You guys should have seen how fun it was in the locker room after the game. It has been something we have been waiting for for so long.”
Slot Backs Shine
Mohamed wasn’t the only Cal Poly running back to have a big game. True freshman slot back Broc Mortensen was electric in the first half for the Mustangs, breaking out on runs of 44 and 34 yards to set up a pair of touchdowns. He finished the game with seven carries for 83 yards and a nearly 12-yards-per-run average. He was also the team’s leading receiver with two catches for 36 yards.
Head coach Tim Walsh said after the game that Mortensen will continue to get touches at slot back in the final two games of the season in place of senior Kyle Lewis, who was moved to wide receiver two weeks ago.
Redshirt freshman slot back Chuby Dunu also found the end zone twice and rushed for 74 yards on 16 carries.
Cal Poly looked like the team that led the FCS in rushing last season and finished the game with 400 yards on the ground.
Fullback/tight end Reagan Enger even got in on the action. His 1-yard touchdown run with 12:35 to go in the game put Cal Poly up for good.
Portland State kept pace with the Cal Poly offense with the help of a two trick plays — first on a double pass that went for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead and again on a fake field goal run to put the Vikings up 21-14 in the first half.
The Portland State offense also racked up 433 passing yards, but unlike the first eight games of the season, the Cal Poly secondary made key stops down the stretch.
A diving interception by sophomore cornerback Mark Reza with less than a minute to play was the final nail in the Vikings’ coffin.
“It was fun to see us get it to the fourth quarter and truly win the game,” Walsh said.
“The challenge now going forward is really for our seniors. They can leave a mark that they got it turned around, not just by one game, hopefully the way they play next week and the following week,” Walsh said.
Cal Poly (1-8, 1-5 Big Sky) will have another home game next week against Sacramento State before traveling to play Northern Colorado in the final game of the season.