Senior fullback Joe Protheroe rushed for a career-high 260 yards, set a Cal Poly record for yards rushing in a single season and scored a touchdown as the Mustangs upset No. 24 Idaho State 37-14 in a Big Sky Conference football game Saturday afternoon in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Senior linebacker Anders Turner scooped up an Idaho State fumble and ran 40 yards for a touchdown and cornerback Dominic Frasch, also a senior, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass, broke up four other Bengal passes and recorded seven tackles as Cal Poly improved to 4-6 for the season and 3-4 in Big Sky games.
Idaho State, averaging 524 yards in total offense per game entering Saturday’s contest, was held to 367 yards in falling to 6-4 and 5-2.
Protheroe surpassed the single-season mark of 1,578 yards set by James Noble in 2005 as he now has 1,627 yards with one more game to play. He also is within reach of the career mark of 4,205 yards set by Craig Young from 1996-99 as Protheroe has 4,088 yards and needs just 118 to break the mark.
Protheroe has surpassed the 100-yard mark in eight consecutive games this season and has surpassed the 200-yard mark four times this year and five for his career, including three straight games. He has 22 career 100-yard games, another school record.
Protheroe, who carried the ball 41 times, two shy of his career high, scored on a one-yard run late in the second quarter, giving Cal Poly the lead for good at 13-7. The Mustangs added three touchdowns and a field goal in the second half to win going away.
Junior wide receiver J.J. Koski scored twice for the Mustangs, catching a 36-yard pass from Khaleel Jenkins early in the third quarter and running 28 yards on a reverse with 4:31 to play to clinch the victory for Cal Poly.
Turner’s fumble recovery and run for a touchdown was Cal Poly’s first since Kenny Jackson scampered 32 yards for a score against Dixie State in 2009.
Senior Alex Vega kicked a career-high three field goals spanning 31, 23 and 29 yards for the Mustangs. Vega is 10 of 11 in field goals this year.
Idaho State’s only scores were an 11-yard pass from Tanner Gueller ro Michael Dean in the second quarter and a 28-yard run by Ty Flanagan midway through the third period.
Cal Poly produced advantages of 22-19 in first downs, 365 to 367 in total offense and 36:49 to 23:11 in time of possession. The Mustangs, among the leaders in the FCS in third-down conversion, was successful eight of 16 times Saturday while the Bengals were just three of 11, and Cal Poly, which led the nation in lost fumbles with 15 entering the game, did not fumble the ball once Saturday.
Jenkins was six of eight passing for 91 yards and one score. Koski caught three passes and Protheroe two.
Flanagan finished with 86 yards on 10 carries and James Madison added 73 yards on 14 trips for Idaho State. Gueller was 21 of 36 for 200 yards and one score and his favorite target was Dean with five receptions for 30 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Matt Shotwell made nine tackles and Jayson Lee, back in the lineup for the first time since the Montana game Sept. 29, added eight stops and forced a fumble. Turner and Jerek Rosales recovered Idaho State fumbles.
Aren Manu corralled 14 tackles and Christian Holland 13 for Idaho State.
Cal Poly beat a ranked opponent for the first time since a 42-41 triumph over No. 6 Montana late in September 2016.
Cal Poly wraps up its 2018 season next Saturday on Senior Day, hosting Southern Utah at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Thunderbirds are 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the Big Sky following a 31-18 loss to Weber State on Saturday.
–Provided by Cal Poly