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Cal Poly to Play First Big Sky Game on Saturday Against Rival UC Davis

Cal Poly to Play First Big Sky Game on Saturday Against Rival UC Davis

WEEKLY NOTES: CAL POLY | UC DAVIS | BIG SKY
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WILLIAMS, ZALUD AND MOLINO HONORED

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THIS WEEK IN BIG SKY FOOTBALL (AUDIO)
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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (2-0, 0-0 Big Sky), which became the ninth Football Championship Subdivision school to beat a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season with a victory at Wyoming last weekend, plays its first-ever Big Sky Conference game against rival UC Davis (1-2, 0-0 Big Sky) on Saturday night in the renewal of The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe.

Kickoff inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium (11,075) in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is set for 6:05 p.m. PDT and the contest will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio (1280 am) with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play and Craig Johnston doing color commentary.Pregame show starts at 5:30 p.m.

The 38th meeting between the Mustangs and Aggies also will be televised on KSBY (Channel 6) with Bill Halter (play-by-play), Andrew Masuda (color) and Dave Hovde (sideline) on the microphones, starting with a pregame show at 5:30 p.m.

Links for audio and video streams as well as live stats are available at www.GoPoly.com.

"We're obviously very excited about our first season in the Big Sky Conference and we're lucky enough to have our first Big Sky game at home against UC Davis," said fourth-year Mustang head coach Tim Walsh.

Cal Poly has played 14 games against FBS schools over the last 10 seasons, winning four of the contests. The victories include last Saturday's 24-22 triumph at Wyoming, a pair of wins over San Diego State in 2006 and 2008 plus a victory at Texas-El Paso in the 2003 season opener. The Mustangs have won five times against FBS schools in the last 16 years and are 5-14 against FBS schools since moving to the FCS level in 1994.

Those five wins -- including an overtime victory at New Mexico State in 1997 -- are exceeded by just 15 current FCS schools. Youngstown State leads the way with 20 wins against FBS schools, followed by Northwestern State (Louisiana) with 16 and Delaware with 15. There were 20 FCS vs. FBS matchups last week and Cal Poly was the only winner. Nine FCS schools have beaten FBS teams this year, including four Big Sky members -- Eastern Washington against Idaho, Sacramento State over Colorado, Northern Arizona against UNLV and Cal Poly at Wyoming last week.

Senior slotback Deonte Williams rushed for 187 yards and one touchdown, junior place kicker Bobby Zalud kicked what proved to be the game-winning field goal from 51 yards in the third quarter and senior cornerback Nico Molino (pictured above) clinched the win with a late interception as Cal Poly upset Wyoming in Laramie. Williams finished with a career-high 187 yards on 19 carries, his third career 100-yard game as a Mustang – he also had four as a freshman at Northern Arizona in 2008 -- while senior quarterback Andre Broadous completed seven of 12 passes for 34 yards and one score. Cal Poly, which rushed for 323 yards in its 41-14 win over San Diego two weeks ago, ran for 325 more yards against Wyoming and is now No. 5 in the FCS in rushing offense (324.0 yards per game) and No. 9 in total defense, allowing just 250 yards a contest.

UC Davis, playing its third straight game on the road this week, fell 12-8 at South Dakota State last Saturday. Jonathan Perkins returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and Alex Cannon ran for the two-point conversion for the Aggies' only points of the game. The UC Davis offense was held to 54 yards rushing and 183 yards passing, punting nine times and converting just three of 13 third-down plays. Quarterbacks Randy Wright (16 of 25, 116 yards) and London Lacy (six of seven, 67 yards) were sacked a total of seven times.

Facing a difficult schedule, Cal Poly posted a 6-5 mark in 2011, clinching its eighth winning season in the last nine years and nine of 11 with a 41-10 triumph at South Alabama. Cal Poly's foes on the 2011 schedule were a combined 68-45 and the Mustangs faced two FBS schools (San Diego State and Northern Illinois) while South Alabama was in transition to FBS. Last week's Wyoming game represents Cal Poly's only game against an FBS school this year.

Cal Poly football, presented by French Hospital Medical Center, opened its 70th season since becoming a four-year school in 1941 and its 19th year in the FCS with just seven returning starters. The Mustangs lost nine of 13 players on the defensive line, do not have a returning starter in the defensive secondary and said good-bye to 1,000-yard fullback Jake Romanelli and slotback/return specialist Mark Rodgers, both seniors in 2011.

Heading the list of returnees, Broadous completed 101 of 171 passes (58 percent) for 1,235 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, throwing his first career interception in 207 career attempts Nov. 5 at UC Davis. Broadous, who also rushed for 646 yards, was No. 4 in the FCS in scoring (9.82 points per game) and No. 35 in passing efficiency (136.73) a year ago and broke a school record by rushing for 18 touchdowns.

Also topping the list of returnees are the top two Mustang tacklers of a year ago -- linebackers Johnny Millard (82 tackles) and Kennith Jackson (80 tackles) -- along with slotback Deonte Williams, who rushed for 385 yards last year and was the 2008 Big Sky Newcomer of the Year while at Northern Arizona with 950 yards and 12 TDs. Starting wide receivers Lance Castaneda (26 catches) and Willie Tucker (14 catches), both sophomores, also return as well as center Geoff Hyde, offensive linemen Giovanni Sani and Lefi Letuligasenoa and defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz.

Several transfers and redshirt freshmen also are expected to make strong contributions this fall, including defensive linemen Wesley Flowers (UCLA), Jake Irwin (Wisconsin) and Barrett Wangara (College of San Mateo), safety Alex Hubbard (College of San Mateo) and linebacker Cameron Ontko (Wisconsin).

UC Davis, coached by Bob Biggs (20th and final season, 141-80-1, UC Davis '73), returned 61 lettermen, including 16 starters, off last year's team which went 4-7 and finished tied for fourth in the Great West Conference at 1-3. The Aggies opened the 2012 season at home with a 41-3 win over Azusa Pacific before falling to San Jose State 45-13 and South Dakota State 12-8.

Colton Silveria has rushed for 149 yards in three games for the Aggies while Wright has completed 43 of 67 passes for 476 yards. Top Aggie receiver is Corey Galindo with eight catches for 100 yards. Linebacker Jordan Glass has 18 tackles, including two sacks, in three games.

Cal Poly, which won three straight games against UC Davis from 2006-08 to even the series at 16-16-2, has lost three in a row to the Aggies since then. UC Davis improved its mark against the Mustangs to 19-16-2 with a 24-17 victory a year ago at Aggie Stadium as Silveria ran for two touchdowns and Wright passed for another, all in the first half. Williams earned his first 100-yard game as a Mustang, netting exactly 100 yards on 21 carries while Broadous completed 11 of 21 passes for 115 yards and was sacked five times. Redshirt freshman Lance Castaneda caught a career-high seven passes for 72 yards.

Cal Poly captured four Great West Conference titles in the eight-year history of the league (2004, 2005, 2008, 2011) and earned NCAA Division I FCS playoff berths in both 2005 and 2008, reaching the quarterfinals in 2005. The Mustangs have won 67 of their last 104 games dating back to the 2002 season finale and have won 25 of their last 49 games on the road and 43 of their last 52 home contests.

Next week Cal Poly plays another Big Sky game Saturday at North Dakota, with kickoff in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., slated for 4 p.m. PDT.