After trending in the wrong direction the past few weeks, the Cal Poly football team finished its 2022 season with a win Saturday night.
Spencer Brasch passed for 414 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, and Troy Fletcher ran 14 yards up the middle for the winning score with 47 seconds left as Cal Poly scored a 49-42 upset against Portland State at Cal Poly in a Big Sky Conference game that was the season finale for both teams.
Three plays after the Fletcher touchdown run, Cal Poly linebacker David Meyer intercepted Portland State quarterback Nathan West with 19 seconds left, sealing the win for Cal Poly.
The Mustangs snapped an eight-game losing streak and finished 2-9, 1-7. The Vikings wound up 4-7, 3-5.
Before upending the Vikings, the Mustangs had been out-scored by a combined 188-45 in their prior three games.
Brasch and Meyer earned Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors. Meyer was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week. Brasch shared the Offensive Player of the Week honor with Montana State quarterback Tommy Mellott.
Meyer led the Cal Poly defense with 11 tackles, besides the timely interception. The conference player of the week honor was the first for Brasch and Meyer.
West was Portland State's backup quarterback. Vikings starter Dante Chachere completed six of 14 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, a 65-yard pass to Beau Kelly, and rushed for 137 yards on just seven carries, including a 76-yard scoring run, before leaving the game with an injury late in the second quarter.
All year Cal Poly had trouble when it came to falling behind, and the Mustangs spotted the Vikings early deficits of 14-0 and 21-14. This time, though, the Mustangs, behind the four Brasch touchdown passes, a 33-yard interception return by freshman defensive back Brian Dukes and the Fletcher run for the winning touchdown, rallied and got the win.
After trailing early, the Mustangs held 35-21 and 42-28 leads before the Vikings rallied to tie it. West tied the game with a 36-yard run down the right sideline with 2:53 left.
The ensuing kickoff went for a touchback, but a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Vikings put the ball on the Cal Poly 40. The Mustangs drove 60 yards on seven plays for the tiebreaking score.
Paul Holyfield gave the Mustangs the 42-28 lead with a 12-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter before the Vikings tied the game. Holyfield finished with 59 yards on eight carries. Fletcher added 47 yards on 11 carries.
Brasch completed three of his four passes on the drive, including a 21-yarder to Zedakiah Centers that set up the 14-yard Fletcher touchdown run.
Brasch hit Chris Coleman with a 30-yard touchdown pass, Giancarlo Woods with a 33-yarder and Centers with scoring passes of five and 64 yards as the Mustangs built their 35-21 lead.
Quincy Craig ran for 107 yards on 18 carries for Portland State, and West had 94 yards on 12 carries. Mataio Talalemoto caught six passes for 54 yards for the Vikings.
Portland State out-gained Cal Poly 574 yards to 482 and had the ball 36:13 to 23:47 for the Mustangs.
Dukes made nine stops along with his interception..
The Mustangs did not turn the ball over. The two interceptions accounted for both Vikings turnovers. In the second quarter, Cal Poly scored 28 points in a single quarter for the first time since the 28 the Mustangs scored in the first in a 70-14 win against Idaho State on Oct. 20, 2012.
Sacramento State and Montana State both earned a share of the Big Sky championship. Sacramento State beat UC Davis 27-21 in the Causeway Classic at Sacramento State's Hornet Field Saturday, and Montana State defeated Montana 55-21 in the Brawl of the Wild at Bozeman. The Hornets and Bobcats each finished 8-0 in conference games.