Cal Poly closes the season with a 49-42 win over Portland State

Zedakiah centers in the end zone.
Zedakiah Centers scored two touchdowns on passes from Spencer Brasch.


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Quarterback Spencer Brasch rushed for 415 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, and Troy Fletcher rushed 14 yards for the tiebreak with 47 seconds left as Cal Poly defeated Portland State 49-42 in a Big Sky conference football game Saturday night.

By ending an eight-game losing streak, Coach Beau Baldwin‘s Mustangs ended the 2022 season with their second overall win and first in conference play. Cal Poly ended the year 2-9 and 1-7 in Big Sky games.

Portland State fell to 4-7 and 3-5.

Cal Poly overcame early 14-0 and 21-14 deficits with Brasch’s four touchdown passes and a 33-yard interception return from freshman defenseman Brian Dukes, his second steal as a Mustang.

The Mustangs went 14 points clear for the first time this season at 35-21 and 42-28 before Portland State rebounded by three points to play Cal Poly at 42-42 with 2:53. Backup quarterback Nathan West leveled the game with a 36-yard run down the right touchline.

After a touchback on the subsequent kickoff and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Portland State, Cal Poly drove for 60 yards in seven games to make the tiebreak. Brasch completed three of four passes, including a 21-yarder Zedakiah CentersSet up Fletcher’s 14-yard run down the middle for a touchdown.

Three games later, West was intercepted by Mustang linebackers David Meier 19 seconds remain to seal victory for Cal Poly.

Brasch hit Chris Coleman with a 30-yard scoring pass, Giancarlo Woods with a 33-yarder and centers with 5- and 64-yard touchdown throws for Mustang’s 35-21 lead.

Brasch finished 25 of 39 for 415 yards — No. 4 all-time for a single game in Cal Poly history and most since Jonathan Dally passed for 453 yards against Idaho State in 2007 — with no interceptions and he’s been sacked three times. Tight end Josh Cuevas was Brasch’s top target with 10 catches for 118 yards and Centers added five receptions for 143 yards and two points.

Giancarlo celebrates touchdown catch.
Giancarlo Woods celebrates touchdown catch
with quarterback Spencer Brasch in the second quarter.

Portland State starter Dante Chachere hit on six of 14 passes for 97 yards and one hit, a 65-yarder on Beau Kelly, and rushed for 137 yards in just seven drives, including a 76-yard scoring jump, before leaving the game with an injury late in the second quarter.

Paul Holyfield, who scored a touchdown on a 12-yard run early in the final period to give a 42-28 Cal Poly lead, ended with 59 yards on eight carries and Fletcher added 47 yards on 11 trips .

In addition to Chachere’s 137 yards on the ground, Quincy Craig added 107 yards on 18 trips and West 94 yards on 12 carries for the visiting Vikings. Mataio Talalemoto caught six passes for 54 yards.

Despite the loss, Portland had the advantage on offense overall, 574 to 482, and on first downs, 25-24. The time of possession was strongly favored by the Vikings, 36:13 to 23:47. However, Portland State failed to overcome three turnovers.

Cal Poly’s defensive leaders were Meyer with 11 tackles and the interception and Dukes with nine stops and a steal of their own. Both now have two career steals at Cal Poly. Zachary Hernandez also intercepted a Viking pass, his first as a Mustang, while Michael Otterstedt recorded the Mustangs’ lone sack, his second of the year.

The Mustangs didn’t turn the ball over.

In the second quarter, Cal Poly scored 28 points in a period for the first time since he had 28 points in the first quarter in a 70-14 win over Idaho State on October 20, 2012. The Mustangs’ 49 points are the highest since a 52-34 season-opening win over San Diego in 2019. And Brasch’s 2,604 yards he’s passing this season is #2 in the Cal Poly record book, behind only Seth Burford’s 2,672 yards in year 2000

Fifteen Mustang seniors honored in pre-game Senior Night ceremony – Dylan Wyatt, Jamarri JacksonChris Coleman, Laipeli Palu, Dawson-HurstZachary Hernandez, Isaiah Hogan, Corey Thomas, Dustin Grein, Ryan Rivera, Thomas Lee, Garret Weichman, Vatulele FinauEli Oreto and Michael Roth.

Also introduced at halftime were the nine newest members of the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame – Chris Gocong (football), Kylie Atherstone (women’s volleyball), Mitch Haniger (baseball), Peter Kline (swimming), Jill Hancock (softball). ), Hugh Bream (men’s and women’s tennis), Andre Dome (men’s tennis), Elise Krieghoff (women’s soccer) and Lou Montano (wrestling).

Sacramento State defeated UC Davis 27-21 in the Causeway Classic at Hornet Field while Montana State defeated Montana 55-21 in the Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman as both the Hornets and Bobcats clinched the Big Sky title with 8: 0 shared.