GWFC opening game for SDSU

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

SDSU starts Great West conference play Oct. 20 as the Jackrabbits host #20 Cal Poly at 7 p.m. The Jacks have played the Mustangs three previous times with their only win coming last year in come-from-behind fashion with a two-point conversion in the last minute of the game to win 29 to 28. Cal Poly was ranked #4 in the nation.

Cal Poly is another high-powered scoring attack that the Jacks will have to stop. Poly ranks seventh in the country in rushing offense with 262.5 yards per game, second in total offense with 492 yards per game and seventh in scoring offense with 39 points per game.

The Mustangs are on a four-game winning streak putting up nearly 60 points per game in their last two games. However, they lost five of their last seven road games.

The Mustangs are led on offense by wide receiver Ramses Barden. Barden is second in the country with 154 yards per game while averaging an impressive 27 yards a catch. Even though he is only a junior, Barden is already projected by some to be at least a fourth round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Quarterback Jonathan Dally is a threat in the air and on the ground. Not only does he have a QB rating of 208.6, good for second in the country, but he averaged 85 yards rushing his last two games. Dally was the Great West Offensive Player of the Week two weeks ago as he completed six of eight passes for 196 yards. He also ran for four touchdowns and guided a Mustang offense that accumulated 612 total yards in a 56-21 win over Northern Colorado.

The Mustangs also have some players on defense. The last three Buck Buchanan Award winners for the nation’s outstanding Division I-AA defensive player of the year came from Cal Poly. That streak will likely come to an end this year as Cal Poly does not have a player on the 2007 Buck Buchanan Award watch list.

The defense has held its opponents to 23 points per game, which is good enough considering the freshmen Mustangs’ high powered offense.

Punter Tim Chicoine is one of the best in the country, ranking 11th at just under 43 yards per punt. Junior punt returner Tredale Tolver can be dangerous. Averaging 13 yards per return, eighth in the country, Tolver had a 89-yard punt return for a touchdown in the opening game of the season against Texas State. If the game turns into a battle for field position, the Mustangs may have an edge.

Poly is a young team, with 74 percent of their roster either freshman or sophomores. This may have an effect on them as they are in the second of four straight road games.

This should be a good, close game between two evenly matched teams. The three all-time meetings between the Jacks and the Mustangs have been decided by an average of five points. Cal Poly can beat its opponents with the pass or the run and their defense is good enough to hold their opponents at bay. There is nothing better then going against a good, competitive team to open up 2007 Great West Conference play.