Cal Poly has been in every game it has played over the past three weeks, only a few plays away from stealing wins. That wasn’t the case Saturday as the Mustangs ran into red-hot Sacramento State.
Cal Poly lost 38-14 in a Big Sky Conference game that it was competitive in for all of a quarter.
The loss drops Cal Poly to 2-6 and 1-3 in the Big Sky Conference. Sacramento State (6-2) is tied with Weber State for first place in the conference.
“The last three weeks, we’ve been able to say the words, ‘woulda, could, shoulda’ and maybe we ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ won some of those (games) the last three week. Tonight, can’t say that,” head coach Tim Walsh said. “We got our tails whipped tonight.”
High-powered Hornets offense
In Troy Taylor’s first year as head coach, Sacramento State’s two losses have come from FBS teams — Fresno State and Arizona State.
Taylor, a former Cal and New York Jets quarterback, previously coached at Utah as an offensive coordinator and was a quarterbacks coach at Eastern Washington, as well as coaching at Folsom High School. Taylor left Cal as the all-time leading passer before being drafted in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL Draft.
The Hornets beat two top-10 teams over the past two weeks by defeating then-No. 5 Montana and then-No. 6 Montana State to move up to No. 8 in the FCS poll.
The high-powered Hornets offense entered Saturday’s game averaging 466 yards per game, 40.7 points per contest and ranked among the top FCS teams in completion percentage (66.8 percent).
The defense came into Saturday No. 5 in the FCS with 64 tackles for loss, 26 sacks in seven games and nine interceptions.
They stifled the Mustangs, who entered Saturday averaging 395.3 yards per game, but left with 202 total yards. Many of those yards came late in the fourth quarter.
“I think defensively, they’re legitimate,” Walsh said. “They’re athletic, they’re strong, they’re quick. They took it to us defensively.”
Cal Poly’s offensive struggles
Just last season, the Mustangs defeated the Hornets 41-27. This year however, Cal Poly was unable to manage any sort of offense that resembled last season’s contest.
Cal Poly didn’t complete a pass until midway through the third quarter and had 61 total yards at halftime. Cal Poly finished the game 6 of 17 on third down.
Chants of “throw the ball” came from the stands, but when Jalen Hamler did drop back to pass, he was swarmed by Hornets defenders. Cal Poly is not built to throw when they need to — which becomes more apparent when the Mustangs fall behind in games.
Cal Poly’s first completion of the game went 43 yards from Jake Jeffrey to J.J. Koski for a touchdown. Jeffrey took over for Hamler who was injured in the third quarter.
Jeffrey had five completions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Duy Tran-Sampson had 21 carries for 70 yards and Hamler had 14 carries for 19 yards.
Cal Poly will play at Idaho (3-5, 2-3) next week at 2 p.m. The Vandals defeated Idaho State 45-21 on Saturday.