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Unbeaten and No. 12/14 Cal Poly to Host Portland State for Homecoming

Unbeaten and No. 12/14 Cal Poly to Host Portland State for Homecoming

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Unbeaten and No. 12/14 Cal Poly (6-0, 4-0 Big Sky), off to a 6-0 start for the first time in eight years and one of just four unbeaten teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, continues its inaugural season in the Big Sky Conference with its second straight home game, hosting Portland State (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) for its Homecoming Game on Saturday night inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium (11,075) in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. PDT and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio (1280 am) with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play and Kyle Shotwell doing color commentary. KSBY-TV will televise the game live with Bill Halter (play-by-play), Andrew Masuda (color commentary) and Cameron Polom (sideline reporter) on the microphones. Links for audio and video streams as well as live stats are available at www.GoPoly.com.

Cal Poly stretched its winning streak over the last two seasons to seven straight with a 56-28 victory over Northern Colorado on Parent and Family Weekend last Saturday in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs scored 14 points in each quarter, senior slotback Deonte Williams rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns and junior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz notched 11 tackles and three sacks, both career highs.

Portland State is coming off a bye week. The Vikings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 77-10 victory over Idaho State two weeks ago in Portland, rushing for a school-record 437 yards and producing 758 yards of total offense en route to their largest point total since a 105-0 victory over Delaware State in 1980. Quarterback Kieran McDonagh accounted for six touchdowns, rushing for four, throwing for one and catching a pass on a trick play; he completed 15 of 23 passes for 280 yards, rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries and caught a 22-yard pass. DJ Adams rushed for a career-high 148 yards on 14 carries and Thomas Carter caught six passes for 91 yards and a score. The Viking defense forced five turnovers and notched three sacks.

Williams (pictured above) is the No. 2 rusher in the Big Sky and No. 9 in the FCS in rushing, averaging 126.2 yards per game with five games of 100 or more yards on the ground, while senior cornerback Nico Molino is second in the nation and Big Sky with his four interceptions. As a team, Cal Poly is No. 3 in the FCS and No. 1 in the Big Sky in rushing offense (309.8). No. 1 in the Big Sky and No. 10 in the FCS in scoring offense (38.2) and is No. 2 in the Big Sky and No. 30 in the FCS in scoring defense (20.7).

Out of the polls in 2011, Cal Poly regained its spot in the top 25 three weeks ago at No. 23 in both the coaches and media polls, moved up to No. 19 in the coaches poll and No. 20 in the media poll following the win over North Dakota, jumped to No. 14/15 after beating Weber State on Oct. 5 and climbed to No. 12 in the coaches poll and No. 14 in the media poll following last Saturday's win over Northern Colorado.

The Mustangs, 4-1 at home each of the last three seasons, have won eight of their last 14 games on the road since going winless away from Alex G. Spanos Stadium in 2009 as part of an eight-game road losing streak.

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 season-ending 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.

Cal Poly football, presented by French Hospital Medical Center, is off to its best start since the 2004 squad won its first seven games en route to a 9-2 campaign. Nine Mustang teams have started the year 5-0 or better, including the 1953 squad which went 9-0 and the 1933 team that finished 7-0, the only two Cal Poly squads to play at least five games and finish unbeaten and untied.

Williams, who opened the 2012 season with four consecutive 100-yard games, surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in career rushing as a Mustang two weeks ago. He now has 1,142 yards in two years at Cal Poly and, including his 2008 freshman season at Northern Arizona, has 2,092 yards in three collegiate campaigns.

Broadous recently cracked the 2,000-yard mark in career passing as a Mustang. He has thrown for 2,350 yards, No. 11 all-time at Cal Poly, and has been picked off just twice in 305 career attempts.

Portland State, coached by Nigel Burton (third season, 11-17, Washington '99) returned 51 lettermen, including 13 starters, off last year's team which went 7-4 overall and finished tied for third in the Big Sky at 5-3, one year after going just 2-9.

The Vikings opened their 2012 season with a 38-20 win over Carroll, then lost four straight to North Dakota, Washington, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona before snapping the streak with their lopsided win over Idaho State.

For the season, Adams has 544 yards and five scores while McDonagh has completed 102 of 183 passes (56 percent) for 1,375 yards and nine touchdowns with seven interceptions. Carter has 19 catches to top all Viking receivers.

Linebackers Ian Sluss and Jaycob Shoemaker have returned interceptions for TDs this season while linebacker Khalil Bass returned a fumble 24 yards for a score. Sluss leads the defense with 62 tackles and two interceptions while defensive end Marquis Jackson has four sacks.

Portland State is averaging 459 yards in total offense per game -- 217 on the ground and 242 through the air -- while giving up 378 yards a contest (114 rushing, 264 passing) and has outscored its six foes 36.2 to 33.3 despite its 2-4 record.

The Vikings have made eight postseason appearances -- eight in Division II as well as the 2000 FCS playoffs. Mustang head coach Tim Walsh was head mentor at Portland State from 1993-2006, compiling a 90-68 record.

Cal Poly and Portland State are meeting for the 19th time in football this weekend but Saturday's game will be the first between the two teams since 1999, a 42-28 Viking victory in San Luis Obispo. The Vikings have won the last five meetings, including the last three under Walsh (1993, 1998, 1999), and hold a 10-8 edge in the series, which started in 1977. Cal Poly won the first six meetings in the series.

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 71 of their last 108 games (65.7 percent) dating back to the 2002 season finale and have won 27 of their last 51 games on the road and 45 of their last 54 home contests.

After its Homecoming Game, Cal Poly plays three of its final four regular-season games on the road, beginning Oct. 27 at Sacramento State. Kickoff in Hornet Stadium is set for 6:05 p.m. The Hornets are 5-2 overall and 3-1 for fourth place in the Big Sky Conference entering their game Saturday at Eastern Washington.