Cal Poly rushes to victory over SDSU


With South Dakota State University hosting its 50th annual Beef Bowl Saturday night, it only made sense for something to get cooked. Unfortunately for most of the 16,887 fans at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, the home team’s defense served as the main course for visiting Cal Poly.

The Mustangs racked up 601 total offensive yards in a 38-31 shootout victory over the tenth-ranked Jackrabbits.

Junior wide receiver Jake Wieneke caught three touchdowns for the second straight game to break Jeff Tiefenthaler’s career record of 32 receiving touchdowns, which had stood since 1986.

The junior from Maple Grove, Minnesota also moved into second place on the career receiving yard list with his nine-catch, 114-yard performance, but said these accomplishments don’t mean as much as the ‘L’ still went into the win-loss column.

“It’s pretty cool and special, but we got the loss,” Wieneke said.

Junior fullback Joe Protheroe’s 13-yard rushing touchdown with 2:28 remaining gave the Mustangs the lead and junior defensive back Aaron Bouzos’ interception of Jackrabbit sophomore quarterback Taryn Christion on the following drive sealed Cal Poly’s victory.

Cal Poly (2-1) utilized its triple-option offensive attack to gash the SDSU defense, racking up 440 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Protheroe led the way for the Big Sky program, gaining 217 yards and two scores on 31 carries. Junior hybrid running back/receiver Kyle Lewis added 188 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to send SDSU into its bye week 1-2.

Jackrabbits Head Coach John Stiegelmeier came away “disappointed” by his team’s performance, particularly the defense, which has allowed 600-plus yards twice this season.

“They ran their offense and we could not stop it,” Stiegelmeier said. “Some of it was a little bit of scheme, some of it was confusion … I give them a ton of credit.”

The Mustang front-seven rarely allowed Christion to get comfortable in the pocket, consistently applying pressure and forcing the sophomore to scramble and hurry his throws. Christion twice left the game in pain, walking gingerly off the field with a right ankle injury, before returning the following series each time.

He finished the game with 252 yards and three touchdowns, while senior Zach Lujan threw a touchdown to Wieneke on the first drive of the game while the Jackrabbit medical staff treated Christion on the sideline.

The Mustangs only passed 11 times, but senior quarterback Dano Graves proved effective when given the opportunity, completing nine throws for 161 yards and one touchdown.

Stiegelmeier said his concerns about the team go beyond this loss, the lack of a running game or the high yardage total his defense is giving up.

“My biggest concern is not the loss,” Stiegelmeier said. “My biggest concern is our spirit, our confidence, our belief in ourselves. But I believe in our leadership, I believe in our coaches and I think we’ll be back. I know we’ll be back.”

Senior linebacker Jesse Bobbit led all defenders with 16 tackles and said the upcoming off week comes at an opportune time before Missouri Valley Football Conference play.

“It’s a good time for a bye week,” Bobbit said. “We need to get our minds right and prepare for Valley.”

SDSU opens conference play Oct. 1 at home versus Western Illinois University. Kickoff for Military Appreciation Day is slated for 6 p.m.