Cal Poly 2016 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Cal Poly Mustangs
Big Sky
Cal Poly got off to a great start to the 2016 season. After a narrow overtime loss to Nevada, the Mustangs beat three very good teams in San Diego, South Dakota State and Montana. Following another loss to begin October, Cal Poly looked in good shape heading into November. However, after a close 42-41 loss to Eastern Washington and a tough 22-15 loss at Weber State, Coach Tim Walsh needed to beat Northern Colorado to make the playoffs.
2016 Record: 7-4, 5-3
Coach: Tim Walsh
Big Wins: 9/17 at South Dakota State (38-31), 9/24 Montana (42-41)
Bad Losses: 11/5 Eastern Washington (21-42), 11/12 at Weber State (15-22)
As usual, Cal Poly’s triple option offense has been very effective. The Mustangs rush for over 350 yards per game and quarterback Dano Graves has been surprisingly effective as a passer during his first season as the full-time starter. Graves has thrown for 1,445 yards and 17 touchdowns, while completing 65.5 percent of his passes. This year Cal Poly is more than just an occasional deep passing threat. Graves is not the same rushing threat as his predecessor, but with Joe Protheroe, Kori Garcia and Kyle Lewis running the ball, Cal Poly’s triple option attack is as potent as ever.
The defense is prone to giving up quite a few points. The team allows over 31 points per game, ranking eighth in the Big Sky and 90th in the country. Cal Poly ranked third in the Big Sky in total defense, so they did not surrender that many yards, but the lack of turnovers means most of those yards end up resulting in points for the opposition. The Mustangs do not take many risks defensively and will not send extra players into the pass rush or go after interceptions. That could be a problem when Cal Poly falls behind. With a defense that rarely makes big plays and an offense that stays on the ground, the Mustangs win games by getting ahead early and staying ahead. They cannot afford to fall behind in the playoffs.
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Joe Protheroe, RB, 1,212 yards
Passing: Dano Graves, QB, 1,445 yards
Receiving: Kyle Lewis, SB, 372 yards
Tackles: Chris Santini, LB, 93
Sacks: Josh Letuligasenoa, DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Aaryn Bouzos, DB, 2
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 352.4 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 130.3 (115, 13)
Total Offense: 482.7 (11, 4)
Scoring Offense: 34.0 (19, 3)
Rushing Defense: 131.2 (30, 3)
Pass Defense: 252.2 (99, 8)
Total Defense: 383.4 (57, 3)
Scoring Defense: 31.1 (90, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.20 (66, 7)
Sacks: 1.40 (96, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 0.80 (7, 2)
Recent Playoff Appearances:
2012    Second Round            Lost to Sam Houston State
2008    First Round     Lost to Weber State
2005    First Round     Defeated Montana 
2005    Quarterfinals   Lost to Texas State
*all team stats through 11/12