Dec 1, 2012 7:29 PM by Andrew Masuda

Mustangs lose playoff heartbreaker 18-16 at Sam Houston State

After a 50 yard touchdown pass on a trick-play to Willie Tucker brought the Mustangs back to life, Cal Poly could not recover the ensuing on-side kick and lost to Sam Houston State 18-16 in the second round of the FCS Division I playoffs on Saturday in Huntsville, Texas. The Mustangs finished their magical season under Tim Walsh 9-3 overall and as co-Big Sky Conference champions. Cal Poly, which was making its third appearance in the FCS playoffs since turning Division I nineteen years ago and first since 2008, fell to 1-3 all-time in the postseason.

In the end, a Sam Houson State safety in the second quarter off a blocked punt proved to be the difference.

The game was scoreless after the first quarter behind solid defensive efforts from both clubs. The Mustangs were driving on their second possession of the game and were inside the Bearkat 30 yard line when quarterback Andre Broadous fumbled the ball after a first down run and the Bearkats recovered at their 19 yard line.

The Mustangs trailed 8-0 at halftime after a sloppy first half of play, especially by the special teams. Sam Houston State blocked a Bobby Zalud punt and the ball trickled out the back of the endzone for a safety and an early 2-0 Bearkats lead. Miguel Antonio converted a 20 yard field goal to make it 5-0 with 6:49 to play in the first half. It appeared like it would stay that way into halftime, but Cal Poly returner Chris Nicholls dropped a punt with nearly one minute to go in the half and Sam Houston State recovered it at the Cal Poly 7 yard line. That resulted in a 32 yard field goal from Antonio and an 8-0 lead.

The Mustangs, who were held to just 117 yards of offense in the first half, received the opening kickoff of the second half. Kirstaan Ivory broke free for a 46 yard run that lead to a 23 yard field goal from Bobby Zalud to make it an 8-3 game with 9:44 to play in the third quarter. After the Cal Poly defense forced Sam Houston State to punt, Andre Broadous hit Willie Tucker for a 53 yard pass play on third down and 8. It resulted in a 27 yard field goal from Zalud to make it 8-6 Bearkats with 3:48 to play in the third quarter.

Sam Houston State responded with an 18 yard touchdown pass from Brian Bell to Keshawn Hill with 31 seconds left in the third quarter to take a 15-6 lead after the first touchdown of the game. The Mustangs inched closer with a 48 yard field goal from Zalud, his third of the game, to make it a 15-9 game with 9:25 to go in the game. However, the Bearkats made it a two possession game with a 26 yard field goal from Antonio, his third of the game to make it 18-9 with 3:23 to go. The Mustangs made a game of it with a trick play. On a double-reverse, Ryan Taylor connected with Willie Tucker for a 50 yard touchdown to make it 18-16 with about 90 seconds left in the game. The Mustangs and kicker Stephen Pyle went for the onside kick, but the ball took a big bounce off the turf and the Bearkats caught it and ran out the clock.

Cal Poly finished with more total yards of offense than Sam Houston State 387-241. The Mustangs rushed for 224 yards, while Sam Houston State ran for 153 yards. Cal Poly had 161 receiving yards, while the Beakats had 88. The difference proved to be two fumbles and a blocked punt.

Ivory led the Mustangs with 77 yards on 14 carries, while Broadous ran for 54 yards. All-Conference First Team selection Deonte Williams was limited to 48 yards on 13 carries. The senior slot back finished the season with 1,506 rushing yards, which ranks #2 in program history for single season rushing yards. Broadous was 6 for 12 passing for 113 yards and 1 interception. Tucker caught 6 passes for a career-best 152 yards and 1 touchdown. Tucker had catches of 50 and 53 yards.

The Bearkats were led by Walter Payton Award finalist Tim Flanders, who rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries. Richar Sincere ran for 39 yards.

The Bearkats have won 13 in a row at home and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Be sure to tune into KSBY News at 6, 10 and 11pm Saturday night for complete coverage of the Mustangs. Coach Tim Walsh will join Bill Halter to recap the game and season on the Mustang Roundup on Sunday night at 11:30 pm.



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