Senior fullback Joe Protheroe established career highs with 43 carries, 228 yards and three touchdowns as Cal Poly earned its first victory of the year, defeating Ivy League member Brown 44-15 in a non-conference football game Friday night inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Protheroe ran 3, 5 and 1 yards for touchdowns, breaking his career mark of two touchdowns in a game, which he accomplished six times. His previous career high for carries was 39 against Colgate in the 2017 season opener while his 228 yards eclipsed his personal mark of 217 established against South Dakota State in 2016.
With the win, Cal Poly improved to 1-2 for the year. Brown was playing its season opener.
Cal Poly played an Ivy League school for just the second time in the 100-year history of the football program. The Mustangs lost to Yale 24-10, also in San Luis Obispo, in 2013.
After missing one game due to injury, senior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins returned to the lineup Friday and rushed for 69 yards on 13 carries, scoring once on a one-yard run. Jenkins also completed five of nine passes for 81 yards en route to his first win in eight starts as Cal Poly’s signal caller.
Sophomore slot back Broc Mortensen returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter, Cal Poly’s first kickoff return for a score since Alex Hubbard returned one 94 yards against Northern Colorado in the 2013 season finale.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Reid capped the scoring for Cal Poly with a three-yard fourth-quarter run.
Brown scored all of its points in the second quarter.
Dylan Brady kicked field goals spanning 29, 23 and 30 yards and Scott Boylan ran 26 yards for a touchdown.
Brown compiled a 305-237 advantage in total offense in the first half and trailed 17-15 before Protheroe’s five-yard run with 26 seconds remaining sparked a Cal Poly run that produced the final 27 points of the game.
The Mustangs, who averaged 135 rushing yards in their first two games, finished with 420 yards on the ground and 499 yards in total offense against the Bears. Brown accumulated 405 total yards.
Brown quarterback Michael McGovern completed 25 of 50 passes for 312 yards and his ifavorite targets were Anton Casey with 61 yards on six catches and Jaelon Blandburg with five receptions for 45 yards.
Koski, who produced a career-high seven catches last week, added three receptions for 56 yards against Brown. Mortensen finished with 55 yards on just two carries.
Linebacker Matt Shotwell, who notched 10 tackles in his first collegiate start last week, added 11 stops (eight solo) Friday, including his first career sack, two tackles for lost yardage, one pass breakup and a pair of quarterback hurries.
Dominic Frasch recorded four pass breakups and Sharky Reza intercepted a Brown pass.
Daniel Aidman and Michael Hoecht each earned 14 tackles for Brown.
Protheroe now has 15 career 100-yard games.
Cal Poly opens Big Sky Conference play next Saturday at Easterrn Washington.