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No. 6 Eastern Washington claims Big Sky Conference opener against Cal Poly, 70-17

Posted at 6:10 PM, Sep 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 12:08:16-04

For one quarter, Eastern Washington senior quarterback Gage Gubrud appeared human.

But after going 0-for-3 passing in the first 15 minutes of play, Gubrud completed his next seven attempts and finished 21 of 27 for 215 yards and a touchdown – he also ran for a score – as the Eagles opened Big Sky Conference play with a 70-17 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday inside Roos Field.

Antoine Custer rushed for 133 yards and Sam McPherson added 84 yards – both scoring twice – as Eastern Washington improved to 3-1 for the season, losing only to Washington State last week. Dennis Merritt added an 81-yard run with three minutes to play.

Despite falling to 1-3, Cal Poly produced a few highlights in the game.

Senior fullback Joe Protheroe earned his 16th career 100-yard game as he ran 34 times for 176 yards, including a 52-yard run in the second quarter to set up the first of two J’uan Campbell touchdown runs.

Protheroe now has 2,982 career rushing yards, No. 7 on Cal Poly’s all-time list and just 18 yards shy of the 3,000-yard mark.

Sophomore linebacker Matt Shotwell produced his third straight double-digit game in tackles. He had 10 against Weber State two weeks ago, 11 versus Brown last week and 11 against Eastern Washington.

Alex Vega gave Cal Poly a 3-0 lead with a 23-yard field goal seven minutes into the game, capping a 69-yard, 18-play drive.

Campbell scored on runs of five and 39 yards for his first two collegiate touchdowns and finished with 48 yards on just five trips.

Senior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins added 70 yards on 25 carries but completed just one of five passes for 15 yards and fumbled the ball twice, both returned for touchdowns by Eastern Washington.

Cole Karstetter ran 38 yards with the first fumble after a bad Mustang pitchout and Jim Townsend scampered 62 yards after a Jenkins sack for another Eagle touchdown.

Pono Faaagi and Matt Shotwell combined on a sack of Gubrud and Dominic Frasch intercepted a Gubrud pass to highlight Cal Poly’s defensive performance.

Eastern Washington’s 70 points are the most against Cal Poly since an 88-0 Mustang loss to Pacific in 1949 with Eddie LeBaron at quarterback for the Tigers.

The Eagles amassed a 657-399 advantage in total offense, 441-378 rushing and 216-21 passing.

Cal Poly called 94 plays and collected 24 first downs, building a 20-minute advantage in time of possession.

Coach Tim Walsh’s Mustangs return home to host Montana for another Big Sky game Saturday at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Provided by Cal Poly