Cal Poly's offense stole the show during the football team's lone scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning.
Playing inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium on the Cal Poly campus, the Mustangs scored six touchdowns against its defense.
Second-string quarterback Jake Jeffrey tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another.
Khaleel Jenkins, expected to be the Mustangs' starter this year at quarterback, ran for one score and threw for another. Saturday's was the lone scheduled scrimmage among Cal Poly's 26 preseason practice sessions.
"Offensively, our Nos. 3 and 4 groups gave some really good looks for our defense,” ninth-year Mustang head coach Tim Walsh said in a press release issued by Cal Poly. "And the Show Team did a great job running the Colgate offense and helping our defense prepare for the opening game of the season."
Cal Poly opens its season at home against Colgate on Saturday, Aug. 26, the day after area high school teams kick off their seasons.
The offensive explosion from the Mustangs is a bit surprising considering they return eight starters on defense, with just five starters returning on offense.
The quarterback Jeffrey, a Folsom High graduate in Northern California, ran 4 yards for a touchdown and connected with Nick White, J.J. Koski and Dan Sanchez for touchdown passes. Jeffrey completed two other passes of 20 or more yards during the 60-play scrimmage.
Not bad for Cal Poly's run-oriented option offense.
Jenkins added a 4-yard scoring run and connected with Koski on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Jenkins also produced a 30-yard run midway through the scrimmage.
“Jeffrey is a great competitor,” Walsh said, according to the press release. "He never ran the option before he got here, but he’s gotten himself into the battle for No. 2. He doesn’t have great speed, but he's definitely got the competitive spirit and can definitely throw the ball, which is something we don’t do much of.”
Redshirt freshman slot back Chuby Dunu contributed a 25-yard run, a 40-yard kickoff return and a 16-yard run while true freshman Broc Mortensen added runs of 18, 25 and 9 yards.
“Mortensen and Dunu got some space outside, which means our blocking on the perimeter was real good today,” said Walsh.
“Defensively, we came out slow today, but executed real well on third-down plays,” Walsh added, per the release. “Aaron Johnson and Aaryn Bouzos did some really good things at the safety position. I need to watch some film before determining how well the defensive line played today.
“Overall, however, I was pleased with our defense and, in my nine years here, I thought we played as physically as we ever have for this time of year. There was some good physical contact on both side of the ball, which can only allow us to get better and we need to do that.”
Casey Sublette and Alex Vega each connected on 50-yard field goals to close out the scrimmage. Walsh also spotted some areas that need attention next week.
“We’ve got to kick the ball more consistently and we can’t put the ball on the ground on punt returns,” Walsh noted. “Again, I am pleased overall, but we have two weeks to go to work on some things. We are further along than in the past.”
Jenkins directed the first-string offense on a 65-yard scoring drive the first time it stepped on the field. Long runs by Dunu and Mortensen set up the 4-yard scoring run by Jenkins.
The last drive of the scrimmage featured the newcomers squaring off against each other. Left-handed sophomore Daniel Prieto, who redshirted at San Diego State in 2015 before playing one season at El Camino-Compton Center last fall, drove the rookies on offense 41 yards to the 14-yard line before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty stalled the march.
Cal Poly opened camp on July 26 and has been practicing six times per week, taking Sundays off. Camp concludes Friday and the players will rest for two days before beginning preparations a week from Monday for their Week Zero opener against Colgate.
Cal Poly returns 53 lettermen from a 2016 squad which claimed its fourth NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth, a fourth straight No. 1 ranking in team rushing during the regular season and another top-five finish in the 13-team Big Sky (the fourth in five years as a member of the conference).
The Mustangs are ranked No. 23 in both the media and coaches preseason polls.
Cal Poly and Colgate kick off the 2017 campaign at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, with the non-conference game to be televised nationally by ESPNU.