Cal Poly Finds the Going Tough at San Jose State
Sept. 23, 2006
San Jose, Calif. - Cornerback Dwight Lowery intercepted three Matt Brennan passes and San Jose State became the first team to score two touchdowns against Cal Poly this season as the Spartans defeated the No. 3-ranked (Division I-AA) Mustangs 17-7 in a non-conference football game Saturday afternoon before 15,684 in Spartan Stadium.
Cal Poly struggled offensively, picking up just two first downs and 84 total yards in the first three quarters of play in falling to 3-1 on the season. San Jose State improved to 2-1.
The Mustangs avoided their first shutout in eight years -- a span of 84 games dating back to Nov. 14, 1998 when Ramses Barden caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Matt Brennan with 38 seconds left in the game.
Senior Cordel Webb started at quarterback Saturday. Brennan replaced Webb with 10:35 remaining in the second quarter and was intercepted by Lowery on his first pass attempt. Lowery picked up his second interception later in the second quarter and his third pick in the third period.
The Mustangs were without running back James Noble, sidelined with an ankle sprain, and lost the services of punter Tim Chicoine when he was injured while making a tackle on the game-opening kickoff.
Brennan had not thrown more than one interception in a game prior to Saturday; he had been intercepted eight times in eight different games during his 12-game Mustang career. Brennan completed just two of his first nine passes before finishing nine of 21 for 107 yards and a score.
The Mustangs netted 78 yards rushing, led by Brennan with 27 and Webb with 26. Barden, who caught nine passes last week at Sacramento State, added seven more to his total Saturday for 110 yards.
Nick Coromelas, replacing Tim Chicoine as the Mustang punter, kicked the ball seven times for a 47.3 average.
The Mustangs' best scoring chances besides the 76-yard touchdown drive came in the first and fourth quarters. Cal Poly drove to the San Jose State 11 in the opening period but Chris Vedder recovered a Jaymes Thierry fumble to stop the drive.
The Mustangs also marched 67 yards to the Spartan 13 in the final stanza but Webb's fourth-down pass to Barden in the back of the end zone was caught out of bounds with 4:25 to play.
The Mustangs have scored 41 points in their last three games after posting 44 points on the scoreboard in the season opener against Fort Lewis.
San Jose State's longest drive of the game was 66 yards to start the third quarter, the longest drive against the Mustang defense this season. But the Mustangs held on fourth down at the Cal Poly 11-yard line.
Scoring drives so far this season against Cal Poly's defense -- No. 1 in the nation in total defense and scoring defense entering Saturday's game -- are 12, 17 and 20 yards, set up by a fumble, interception and long punt return.
Senior free safety Kenny Chicoine intercepted a San Jose State pass early in the fourth quarter, his 16th career theft, tied for No. 2 all-time at Cal Poly. Mark Davis intercepted 17 passes from 1973-75.
With the loss, Cal Poly stands 2-16 against Division I-A opponents since 1980, defeating New Mexico State in 1997 and Texas-El Paso in 2003.
The Mustangs and Spartans met for the first time in 48 years Saturday. San Jose State now leads the series, 6-2.
Cal Poly, which has played its last three games on the road, opens a three-game homestand next Saturday, hosting Southern Utah in a Great West Football Conference opener at 6 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Hall of Fame Game features dedication of Mustang Memorial Plaza, Mustang Memorial Field and the honorary induction of the entire 1960 football team.