GRAND FORKS, N.D. – No. 23 Cal Poly used a big fourth quarter to rally past North Dakota 35-17 in a matchup of Big Sky newcomers on Saturday at the Alerus Center. It was the second straight season the Mustangs (4-0, 2-0 Big Sky) won on UND’s home field as senior quarterback Andre Broadous engineered a trio of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to keep the visitors unbeaten on the young season.
UND outgained the Mustangs 409 to 395, but four turnovers, a blocked field goal and a fake punt that was snuffed out nicely by the CP defense proved costly in this one. Cal Poly and its top-ranked Big Sky run game managed to net 321 of its yardage on the ground as Broadous only attempted five passes in the game.
The Mustangs’ signal caller scored the go-ahead touchdown from three yards out after UND quarterback Marcus Hendrickson had given his team its first lead of the night at 17-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Hendrickson scored on a 2-yard run to cap a stretch of 17 unanswered points by the home team on scoring drives that consisted of 17 plays, 13 plays and 15 plays.
Broadous would extend the Mustangs’ lead to 28-17 on a two-yard run with three minutes, 54 seconds to play after CP blocked a 54-yard field goal attempt by Zeb Miller. A high snap threw off the timing and the Mustangs were able to take over on UND’s 40-yard line after the deflection.
On the first play of UND’s next drive, the Mustangs stripped Hendrickson and recovered on the UND 24-yard line. Deonte Williams, who led CP with 125 yards rushing, scored on an 18-yard run three plays later to seal the victory.
Cal Poly sandwiched a pair of shaky quarters with a pair of strong ones as all 35 of the visitor’s points came in the first and fourth quarters. The Mustangs jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes as UND could not slow down CP’s triple-option attack.
The Mustangs’ first touchdown came after Greg Hardin fumbled on UND’s first possession following a seven-yard reception that would have extended a drive. Broadous, who only completed three passes in the game, found Cole Stanford on a 20-yard scoring strike to put his team on the scoreboard five plays later.
Williams would then cap a 17-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run to put his team up by 14. That drive took over six minutes off the clock and the Mustangs converted all five of their third-downs, but the UND defense tightened up after that score and forced a pair of punts on the Mustangs next two possessions.
Following the second punt, Hendrickson engineered a 13-play, 82-yard drive for the home team that put them on the scoreboard. Senior Mitch Sutton punched it in from two yards out for his career-high seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
Sutton, who had six rushing touchdowns as a freshman in 2009, also turned a pair of screen passes on the drive into 28 yards. He equaled his career-high in receptions with five for 63 yards, while also adding 37 yards rushing. Hendrickson finished with 276 yards passing and a team-high 66 yards rushing.
GAME NOTES: UND is now 7-2 at home over the last two seasons with both of those losses coming to Cal Poly … Senior Mitch Sutton’s two-yard touchdown rush in the second quarter was his seventh of the season, marking a new career high … Sutton now has 15 rushing touchdowns in his career … Defensively, linebacker Dominque Bennett, safety Clordion Kennedy and defensive end Ross Brenneman led UND with seven tackles … For Bennett and Kennedy, that total is a new a career-high, while Brenneman equaled his career high … UND’s four turnovers were a season high after the team only committed three miscues in its first four games … The North Dakota defense has only allowed seven points in the third quarter this season after Cal Poly was held off the scoreboard in that frame tonight … The last time CP came into the Alerus Center nationally ranked, UND defeated the Mustangs 31-17 in 2009.