Redshirt freshman Gabriel Umoh got the start as Cal Poly’s second slotback in the Mustangs’ 41-33 victory over visiting St. Francis (Pa.) and made an immediate impact — though not by running the ball.
Subbing in for injured starter David Mahr, who walked the sidelines in crutches with his right leg in a full-length brace, Umoh was Cal Poly’s leading receiver going into the half.
The former Morningside High (Inglewood) standout caught four passes for 46 yards, including a 34-yarder that set up the Mustangs’ second touchdown of the game.
Umoh ran up the right seam, where Cal Poly quarterback Tony Smith hit him streaking toward the end zone. Grabbing the ball between two defenders, Umoh was brought down at the 6-yard line, giving the Mustang first-and-goal.
Jordan Yocum ran up the middle on the next play for his second touchdown of the game to put Cal Poly ahead 13-6 just 30 seconds into the second quarter.
Umoh finished with five catches for 51 yards and ran two times for 8 yards.
Yocum’s scoring milestone
In the first half alone, Yocum scored on runs of 6 and 3 yards. Not only was it the first time the senior had more than one touchdown in a game since 2008, it also equaled Yocum’s touchdown total from all of this season and last coming into the game.
Yocum, who came into the game second on the team in rushing and finished last season as the team’s second-leading rusher as well, had only scored once this season and had only one touchdown in all of 2009.
He had three touchdowns as a sophomore in 2008, and two of them came in Cal Poly’s 49-10 win over Idaho State, when Yocum had 116 yards rushing and the two scores on only eight carries.
Tribute to 1960 team
Prior to the game, members of the 1960 Cal Poly football team reunited to memorialize those who died in the plane crash that killed 22, including 16 Mustangs players, a Cal Poly student manager and a team booster in Toledo, Ohio that season. Of the 18 living survivors, at least 12 were in attendance, and seven of those went onto the field to take part in the pre-game coin toss. Al Maranai represented his teammates by tossing the coin.
St. Francis offensive yards
The Red Flash came into the game averaging only 219 yards of total offense per game.
Their season-high yardage output was 317 in their only win coming in, a 41-0 victory over Sacred Heart, but the total was significantly less in every other game.
Against Cal Poly, however, St. Francis had 172 yards in the first half alone. The Mustangs still outgained the Red Flash by two yards in the first two quarters, leading just 13-12 at the break.
Cal Poly allowed 100 passing yards, and St. Francis quarterback John Kelly completed 11 of 16 passes.
Jespersen fighting for playoff spot
Former Atascadero High and Allan Hancock College quarterback Gunnar Jespersen helped Central Connecticut State to a 5-0 Northeast Conference start with a 38-20 win over Wagner on Saturday.
Jespersen was 13-of-22 passing for 143 yards and an interception for Central Connecticut State (6-2, 5-0 NEC) and added 21 rushing yards.
The Blue Devils are angling for the conference’s automatic berth to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Tied atop the standings with Robert Morris (6-1, 5-0 NEC), Central Connecticut State will travel to face Robert Morris next week with first place and potentially the conference’s only postseason berth on the line.