Cal Poly chalked up another Big Sky Conference win to add to an undefeated season with a 56-28 thumping of Northern Colorado at Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Saturday.
The No. 15 Mustangs (6-0, 4-0 Big Sky) powered the ball through the Bears’ defense at will for most of the night, racking up 519 total yards.
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The offensive onslaught marked Cal Poly’s largest scoring game of the season and the most points the Mustangs have put up since a 69-41 win against Southern Utah in 2008.
Their offense featured an air attack from Andre Broadous that included touchdown passes of 45 and 30 yards as part of his 9-for-12 passing night, tallying 195 passing yards.
The Mustangs running game was highlighted by Deonte Williams’ three touchdowns and 117 yards rushing on 22 carries.
Kristaan Ivory ran the ball only three times for 46 yards, but scored twice, including a 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Northern Colorado (1-5, 0-3 Big Sky) kept the game within two touchdowns in the first half and appeared ready to give the Mustangs a fight.
But Cal Poly simply had too much firepower against a Bears program that went winless last season and suffered blowout losses of 41-16 against Montana State and 40-17 against Montana this season.
“I respect my opponent,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said. “They brought a good game plan. Their running back (Tromaine Dennis) is legit.”
But Walsh credited Broadous for reading what the defense was presenting him and making good decisions on pitches and option plays.
“Andre has a great feel for what we do,” Walsh said. “… I don’t care if we throw the ball five times or 25 as long as we’re dictating the play.”
With about eight minutes left, Cal Poly had its backups in the lineup and rested the starters for next week’s game against Portland State at home.
Fifth-year senior Ryan Solomon dove into the end zone in a fourth quarter for a 5-yard touchdown run, which Walsh said was a big play for a guy who has worked hard in the Cal Poly program.
In the opening quarter, the Mustangs ran the ball almost exclusively on first down, handing the ball off frequently to Williams.
But it was the passing game that led to big plays for the Mustangs. Cal Poly opened the game with a 38-yard pass by Broadous to Cole Stanford to set up an 8-yard run Ivory touchdown run.
On Cal Poly’s second score, Broadous nearly was sacked but escaped a tackler on a blitz by Northern Colorado.
Broadous found his target, Willie Tucker, downfield slashing toward the left side and hit him on the run with a long pass for a 45-yard touchdown at 5:38 in the first quarter for a 14-7 lead.
The Bears matched Cal Poly’s scoring in the opening minutes after Broadous’ fumble gave the ball to the Bears on Cal Poly’s 24, leading to a 1-yard touchdown run by Dennis.
The Bears tied it at 14 with a 22-yard pass from quarterback Seth Lobato to Darin McDonald on a 65-yard drive on nine plays before the close of the quarter.
But the game was never close after that, and Williams led the team downfield with bruising runs, including a 5-yard touchdown run at the 8:09 mark in the second quarter to extend the lead to 28-14.
Cal Poly capitalized on a fumble on Northern Colorado’s first drive of the second half to take over on the Bears’ 22-yard line. Williams ran the ball in from the 11 and followed that with a 15-yard score four minutes later.
“We don’t want to be a one-dimensional team,” Williams said. “We gotta be able to keep teams on their heels and making adjustments and we did that today.”
Broadous said that the deep threat passing game was based on reads on the defense and putting up 56 points was a great feeling.
“We have a lot of confidence right now,” Broadous said. “But we have to stay humble at the same time. We can always grow. We could have scored 60.”
How the FCS Top 15 fared
How the top 15 teams in the Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision poll fared this week:
1. North Dakota State (5-1) lost to Indiana State 17-14. Next: at South Dakota.
2. Montana State (6-1) lost to No. 6 Eastern Washington 27-24. Next: vs. North Dakota, Oct. 27
3. Old Dominion (5-1) lost to Villanova 38-14. Next: vs. No. 17 Towson.
4. James Madison (5-1) def. William & Mary 27-26, 2 OT. Next at Richmond.
5. Wofford (5-1) lost to No. 7 Georgia Southern 17-9. Next: at No. 13 Appalachian State.
6. Eastern Washington (5-1) def. No. 2 Montana State 27-24. Next: vs. Sacramento State.
7. Georgia Southern (5-1) def. No. 5 Wofford 17-9. Next: at Furman.
8. Youngstown State (4-2) lost to No. 14 Illinois State 35-28. Next: vs. Southern Illinois
9. Sam Houston State (4-2) def. Nicholls State 41-0. Next: vs. No. 19 McNeese State.
10. Lehigh (7-0) def. Georgetown 17-14. Next: vs. Bucknell
11. Stony Brook (6-1) def. Coastal Carolina 27-21. Next: vs. Gardner-Webb
12. New Hampshire (5-2) def. Richmond 44-40. Next: at Maine
13. Appalachian State (5-2) def. No. 25 Samford 28-25. Next: vs. No. 5 Wofford
14. Illinois State (6-1) def. No. 8 Youngstown State 35-28. Next: vs. Missouri State
15. Cal Poly (6-0) def. Northern Colorado 56-28. Next: vs. Portland State