This week’s poll winner for Game of the Week gave us exactly what we were looking for. A shockingly small crowd of just over 8,000 witnessed the Mustangs and Grizzlies battled back and forth for four quarters with seven lead changes and one tie. Cal Poly added what would end up being the game-winning score on a 39 yard TD pass from Dano Graves to running back Kyle Lewis with 4:29 left in the game. Montana had a chance to grab the lead back but missed a 48 yard FG with 1:55 on the clock. After forcing a punt the Griz got one last play, a desperation play with quite a few laterals that only gained a few yards. The game ended and gave Cal Poly their third win in a row over Montana.
Montana quarterback Brady Gustafson had a career day completing 47 passes (a Griz record previously held for over 20 years by Dave Dickenson) on 59 attempts for 418 yards and 2 TDs. His day was smudged by two turnovers; a 2nd quarter interception on a tipped pass which was followed up on the next series by a fumble. Graves, his Cal Poly counterpart, threw only 10 passes on the day, but 3 of those passes went for touchdowns, including the game winner.
In addition to Gustafson’s new record, Montana wide receiver Jerry Louis-McGee set a new record with 21 receptions in a game. He also had both of the Griz touchdowns through the air. (Griz Highlights)
The Mustangs managed to rack up 274 yards on the ground with their physical option attack, down from the 392 they averaged over the first three games of the season. With the Griz stacking the box, Graves made some key throws and was able to connect with his receivers in some one-on-one situations. He made some tough throws under a lot of pressure. (Cal Poly Highlights)
Montana has to be disappointed in losing such a close battle, but the Griz are still in control of their playoff destiny. They return to Missoula to host the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in another game that should prove to be important in the Big Sky race.
Cal Poly has moved into the discussion for a Top 4 seed. If they can get through Big Sky play undefeated the playoff committee will have to consider them as a strong candidate. The only issue is that a loss to a team like Eastern Washington would most likely leave the Eagles as the only seed from the Big Sky. The Mustangs head back to the Dakotas this week to take on conference foe North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks seem to be improving and could present a challenge for the Cal Poly ground game.