Cal Poly

Matchup to watch: Ground game is a strength of both Cal Poly and Northern Iowa

Jared Mohamed celebrated his 20th birthday in style last week during the Cal Poly football team’s trip to Pac-12 country to take on Arizona State.

The sophomore fullback came off the bench to rush for 75 yards on 11 carries — both career highs — and provided starter Joe Protheroe with some extended rest.

When the Mustangs scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter, Mohamed and Protheroe carried the ball on every snap of an eight-play, 64-yard drive.

The 6-foot, 220-pound Mohamed ran for 49 yards on four carries, and through two games he’s averaging a team-best 6.1 yards per rush on 18 attempts.

Running between the tackles is a strength of both fullbacks, and there figures to be some big bodies in the fray Saturday against Northern Iowa.

The average height and weight of the Panthers’ four-man defensive line is nearly 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds.

Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said the Mustangs will be ready to defend both UNI quarterbacks, Aaron Bailey and Sawyer Kollmorgen.

Bailey is a junior transfer from Illinois and looks to be as explosive as any player Cal Poly will face this season. He has started both games for the Panthers, including last week’s win against Eastern Washington.

Bailey was chosen as the Missouri Valley Conference player of the week after he ran for a

career-high 134 yards and passed for 91 yards with two touchdowns.

“It’s like having a big tailback that plays quarterback,” Walsh said of the 6-2, 226-pound Bailey.