Story and photo courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – In its first year in the Big Sky Conference, the No. 17-ranked Cal Poly football team gained a share of the title.
Sophomore slotback Kristaan Ivory scored two touchdowns and senior quarterback Andre Broadous threw a pair of scoring passes as the Mustangs overcame an early 7-0 deficit and beat No. 15 Northern Arizona 42-34 on Saturday in the Walkup Skydome.
Senior slotback Deonte Williams surpassed the 100-yard mark for the 10th time this season as Cal Poly raised its overall record to 9-2. Northern Arizona fell to 8-3.
Cal Poly, Eastern Washington and Montana State all finished with 7-1 Big Sky records. Eastern Washington gets the conference’s automatic bid to the playoffs by virtue of its win over Sacramento State.
NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff pairings will be announced Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PST on ESPNU.
Cal Poly broke two records in the game – rushing yards for a season at Cal Poly as well as for the Big Sky Conference – accumulating 323 yards on the ground. Add the 180 passing yards and the Mustangs earned 503 total yards.
Northern Arizona’s Brandon Phillips returned a Cal Poly fumble 61 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Lumberjack lead midway through the first quarter.
Cal Poly answered with two scoring runs by Ivory of 13 and one yards and junior linebacker Nick Dzubnar returned an interception 40 yards as the Mustangs built a 21-13 halftime advantage.
The Mustangs led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but Northern Arizona twice cut the deficit to eight points and tried an onside kick with 1:33 to play. The Lumberjacks were penalized for illegal touching and Cal Poly picked up a key first down on a 12-yard third-down run by Ivory and ran out the clock.
Cole Stanford caught a pair of 51-yard passes, one for a touchdown, Willie Tucker added a five-yard scoring catch and Broadous ran one yard for the final Mustang touchdown with 3:14 to go. It proved to be the game-clinching score.
Broadous completed six of nine passes for 180 yards and two scores. Stanford was his favorite target with three catches for 127 yards.
Williams finished with 139 yards on 25 carries, averaging 5.6 yards a carry. His 37-yard run set up the final one-yard scoring run by Broadous.
Williams now has 1,458 yards on the year, No. 2 all-time at Cal Poly and 120 yards shy of James Noble’s single-season mark of 1,578 yards. He has cracked the 100-yard mark 10 times in 11 games this season, 11 times in his Cal Poly career and 15 in his collegiate career.
Williams rushed for 950 yards, including four 100-yard games, in his freshman season at Northern Arizona in 2008.
Ivory earned his first 100-yard game as a Mustang, finishing with exactly 100 yards on 19 carries and his two scores. Fullback Akaninyene Umoh added 57 yards on 13 trips.
Northern Arizona running back Zach Bauman, No. 2 in the Big Sky in rushing, netted 44 yards on 14 carries. He missed most of the second half with an injury. Casey Jahn also had 44 yards on eight carries.
Quarterback Cary Grossart completed 23 of 36 passes for 274 yards and was intercepted twice – by Dzubnar and Jordan Willoiams. R.J. Rickert caught eight passes and Bauman four for the Lumberjacks.
Dzubnar was Cal Poly’s defensive leader with nine tackles, including two for lost yardage, and forced a fumble along with his interception. Andrew Alcaraz added seven tackles, including one sack. Sullivan Grosz and Johnny Millard also earned sacks for the Mustangs.
Jarret Bilbrey notched 14 tackles, Lucky Dozier 13 and Phillips 12 for Northern Arizona.