SDSU tames Cal Poly Mustangs

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

In order to win a football game, football coaches preach three areas they must win in order to come out on top: special teams, the turnover battle and not turning the ball over in the red zone.

Cal Poly Mustangs (4-3, 1-1 GWFC) failed to win all three battles and as a result lost to SDSU (3-4, 1-0) 48-35 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in front of 6,545 fans. The SDSU offense did not need to worry about turning the ball over as the offensive line, led by junior Nick Flesner, created large amounts of daylight for senior running back Cory Koenig.’Koenig had touchdown runs of 52, 46 and 32 yards en route to a career high 259 yards and four touchdowns and was also named co-offensive player of the week by GWFC.

A humble Koenig gave credit to the linemen and tight ends for dominating up front. “I was in the secondary right away, so I just did my part and ran hard,” Koenig said.

The SDSU defense started sluggishly and the Mustang attack, led by quarterback Jonathan Dally, was very effective. With fake pitches and lethal counter options, the Mustang attack was hard to tackle despite only two offensive sets in the Wing-T Formation. Later in the game, the option was shut down and Cal Poly was unsuccessful running the ball up the middle.

“We focused more on doing your job and focus only your job, not doing your job and then some,” said Mitch Pontrelli. The senior from St. Paul, Minn., ended up with 11 tackles, two sacks and a field goal block en route to receiving defensive player of the week honors for the Great West Football Conference.

The game started right for the Jacks as they received a big boost from Adam Monke who had a return of 91 yards, which put the Jacks ahead 7-0 with just seconds off the clock. With the early touchdown, Cal Poly was forced into an unfamiliar position, being behind for the first time in 10 quarters.

“The Jackrabbits beat an excellent Cal Poly team,” said Stiegelmeier.

Two Mustangs rushed for 100 yards-Dally (119) and halfback Ryan Mole (112). The Cal Poly offense was so potent, they out-rushed SDSU by 69 yards (433-502). When it mattered, though, Cal Poly did not perform under pressure and SDSU captalized.

With the score tied 7-7 and Cal Poly marching deep into Jackrabbit territory, Chandler, Ariz., native Jimmy Rogers forced Dally to put the ball on the turf. The turnover proved to be a 14-point swing as Koenig found the endzone with just under a minute to go in the first quarter to put the Jacks up for good. In the second quarter another fumble was caused by the quarterback to running back exchange at the 14-yard line. The Jacks committed no turnovers in the Great West League play.

“If we don’t lose those two balls, we score two more

touchdowns, they don’t have two touchdowns, and we’re up by two scores,” said Cal Poly-coach Rich Ellerson. “We’re always talking about these yards or this play or this front, and it comes down to turnovers and the kicking game.”

Parker Douglass continued to re-write the SDSU record book as he became the all-time career leader in points after touchdown attempts with 113 tries. A streak of 66 extra points in a row was snapped as the referees called the ball no good, missing his first try in two years. According to Steigelmeier, Douglass thought the ball had sailed through the uprights, but the officials disagreed and Douglass started a new streak of two to end the game.

Punter Dean Priddy had a solid night, along with punt returner Paul Aananson, who had a great punt return that helped lift the Jacks to a victory.

Monke earned the special teams player of the week for the Great West. “It was great to get my first touchdown,” Monke said. We we went into (the game) with the attitude that we’re better than they are.”

Stiegelmeier, in his 10th year of coaching, was very pleased with his special teams play. “The special teams made a bigger difference in this football game than I’ve ever seen as head coach,” he said. “We did a good job executing with returns and punting.”

The win proved to be redemption for Koenig, as he did not play in last year’s game at Cal Poly. Last year, the Jacks mounted a great comeback when wide receiver JaRon Harris caught the winning touchdown as the Jacks beat then fourth ranked Cal Poly at their home field.

The absence from last year’s games could be the reason why Koenig had such an impressive performace, but Koenig jokingly credited all the walking that he did for hunting season.

“I’m proud of all 99 guys, because however you get wins, they all worked hard,” said Stiegelmeier.

#1.883193:3222274809.jpg:footballbrua2.jpg:Mustang quarterback Jonathan Dally stiff-arms senior defensive back Tyler Koch in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s game.:Stephen Brua