Cal Poly sputters to football finish
November 16, 2013
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The Cal Poly football team fell behind 35-3 on the Moriarty Enterprises scoreboard Saturday afternoon and lost 35-22 in its lone opportunity left to prove worthy of a playoff berth.
The Mustangs dropped its final home game of the season to the third-ranked Eastern Washington Eagles in front of a far from capacity homecoming crowd at Spanos Stadium.
With the loss, Cal Poly fell to 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the Big Sky Conference, eliminating itself from playoff contention. Eastern Washington improved its record to 9-2 overall and 7-0 in the conference, positioning itself for a high seed in the upcoming NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Cal Poly held Eastern Washington scoreless in the first quarter, a feat only one other team achieved this season. But, the Eagles scored the next 35 points of the game led by star quarterback Vernon Adams.
Adams, who is the namesake of BigPlayVA.com, led two scoring drives in the second quarter, giving Eastern Washington a 14-3 lead at halftime. He then threw a touchdown pass on the first drive of the 3rd quarter on a play in which he suffered a big hit and a shoulder stinger.
Adams stayed on the sideline for the remainder of the game as a precautionary measure, and Eastern Washington backup Anthony Vitto guided the Eagles to two more scoring drives.
Cal Poly Head Coach Tim Walsh started 5 foot 9 inch Dano Graves at quarterback Saturday for the fourth time of the season. Graves ran for 75 yards on 16 carries but only completed eight passes on 16 attempts, three of which Eagle defenders intercepted.
Graves threw for a total of 37 yards and no touchdowns before getting replaced in the fourth quarter by previous starting quarterback Chris Brown, who began the game on the sideline due to an injury.
Brown entered the game with Cal Poly trailing 35-3 and threw for a touchdown and ran for another score. He completed four of seven passes for 87 yards and ran for 63 yards on five carries.
Cal Poly finishes its 2013 season next week at Northern Colorado. The Mustangs will not finish with a winning record for the first time since 2009, Walsh’s first year with the program.
One year ago, Cal Poly finished tied with Eastern Washington for first place in the conference and lost in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
Injuries and frequent turnover at quarterback have marred the 2013 campaign for the Mustangs. The team suffered close losses in consecutive conference games before making a playoff push late in the season.