H-SPORTS

Nov 28, 2012 2:01 AM by Andrew Masuda

Cal Poly football prepares for FCS playoff game at Sam Houston State

The Cal Poly football has resumed preparations for its first FCS playoff game in four years. The Co-Big Sky Conference champion Mustangs travel to 2011 runner-up Sam Houston State for a second round game on Saturday.

Sam Houston State is 8-3 and earned the #6 seed. Cal Poly finished the regular season 9-2, but is seeded #11 for the playoffs.

The Mustangs and Bearkats will be meeting for the first time on Saturday with kickoff set for 1pm California time in Huntsville, Texas.

Cal Poly will be making its third-ever appearance in the FCS playoffs since turning Division I.

The Bearkats saw their seven game winning streak come to an end on the final day of the regular season with a 47-28 win to FBS-level Texas A&M. They've also lost to Baylor and Central Arkansas this season. They have not beaten a FCS team ranked in the Top 35 this
season. But they've won their eight games by an average score of 53-11.

"They're great, I think they have a good team, obviously they made it this far. They know how to win. Especially look at them from last year. They made it real far, all the way to the championship and lost. They know what it takes to play this second season and you've got to respect that," said junior defensive end Sullivan Grosz, who leads the Mustangs with 5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for lost yardage.

Sam Houston State is led by running back Timothy Flanders, who's rushed for 1,151 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has reached the 100 yard mark in eight games this season and earned Southland Conference Player of the Year honors last week. Quarterback Brian Bell has thrown for 2,033 yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with 262 rushing yards and 4 rushing TDs.

Defensively, the Bearkats are led by Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year Darnell Taylor. The senior safety has 79 tackles, while linebacker Jesse Beauchamp has 73 tackles, including 10.5 for lost yardage.

Sam Houston State is averaging 480.5 yards in total offense per game, with 285 coming on the ground. They rank #1 in the FCS in scoring offense (44.55 points per game), #7 in rushing offense (284.91), #3 in rushing defense (76.36 yards per game) and #9 in total defense (303.36).

The Mustangs rank third in the FCS with 333.4 rushing yards per game and eighth in scoring offense at 38.6 points per game.

Cal Poly also made the FCS playoffs in 2005 and 2008, reaching the quarterfinals in 2005 with a win at Montana before falling at Texas State. The Mustangs lost at home to Weber State in 2008.

KSBY's Bill Halter will be traveling with the Mustangs to Texas to provide us with coverage on Friday and Saturday nights.

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