Cal Poly picked up its first win of the 2018 season Friday night with a comprehensive 44-15 win over Brown on the strength of a record performance by senior fullback Joe Protheroe, rewarding over 7,000 fans at Alex G. Spanos Stadium as students returned to campus for the start of the fall quarter.
Protheroe established career highs with 228 yards, three touchdowns and 43 carries. The lynchpin of head coach Tim Walsh’s triple-option offense ran 3, 5 and 1 yards for touchdowns. Protheroe’s previous career high for carries was 39 against Colgate in the 2017 season opener while his 228 yards eclipsed his personal mark of 217 established against South Dakota State in 2016.
With the win, Cal Poly improved to 1-2 for the year, equaling its win total from 2017. Brown was playing its season opener.
After missing one game due to injury, senior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins returned to the lineup Friday and rushed for 69 yards on 13 carries, scoring once on a 1-yard run. Jenkins also completed five of nine passes for 81 yards en route to his first win in eight starts as Cal Poly’s signal caller.
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Sophomore slot back Broc Mortensen returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter, Cal Poly’s first kickoff return for a score since Alex Hubbard returned one 94 yards against Northern Colorado in the 2013 season finale.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Reid capped the scoring for Cal Poly with a 3-yard fourth-quarter run.
Brown scored all of its points in the second quarter.
Cal Poly was playing an Ivy League school for just the second time in the 100-year history of the football program. The Mustangs lost to Yale 24-10, also in San Luis Obispo, in 2013.
Brown quarterback Michael McGovern completed 25 of 50 passes for 312 yards and his favorite targets were Anton Casey with 61 yards on six catches and Jaelon Blandburg with five receptions for 45 yards.
Protheroe now has 15 career 100-yard games — two over the 200-yard mark — after producing the 22nd 200-yard game in Mustang football history. His 228-yard performance Friday night is tied for No. 10 on Cal Poly’s list of 200-yard games. The record is 283 yards by Craig Young against Saint Mary’s in 1996.
Cal Poly opens Big Sky Conference play next Saturday at Easterrn Washington.