Two of the more physical players in the Big Sky Conference will likely collide Saturday night when Cal Poly hosts Portland State at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Mustangs junior DJ Peluso has developed into a standout run blocker on the perimeter over the past month. The slotback from College of San Mateo has played a key role in helping preseason All-American Kori Garcia establish a consistent running attack to the outside.
With Peluso’s help, Garcia has rushed for 114, 146 and 88 yards over the past three games, providing balance to the interior presence of sophomore fullback Joe Protheroe and senior quarterback Chris Brown.
Peluso, who also plays on several special teams units, leads Cal Poly in receptions (nine) and kickoff return yards (151) this season.
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Portland State linebacker-turned-defensive back Patrick Onwuasor is the Big Sky leader in interceptions with four. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior, who spent two seasons at Arizona, is second on the team with 35 tackles this fall.
The Inglewood native earned scout team player of the year honors for the Wildcats as a redshirt in 2011 and made 36 tackles in 12 games as a freshman the next season.
Onwuasor made an immediate difference at Portland State in 2014 and he finished the season with 53 tackles, including a career-high 10 stops against Cal Poly. His play this fall has helped the Vikings’ secondary emerge as one of the Big Sky’s best units.
Onwuasor is one of several Vikings who transfered from FBS-level schools, some of which include Arizona State, BYU, Oregon State, UCLA, UNLV, Washington and Miami.