For the rest of the Big Sky Conference, Cal Poly’s triple-option offense is a three-headed monster of power, deception and speed.
That makes Chris Brown one scary dude.
The senior quarterback is a threat to run, pitch or pass, and he does them all well. Last week, he led the Mustangs to over 600 yards of total offense in a frightening 58-26 win over Idaho State.
Next up is Eastern Washington on Saturday at Roos Field in a game that will go far in deciding the conference title. With the Eagles off last week, they’ve had a long time to think about Brown and the triple option.
“He does things right in that offense,” Eastern coach Beau Baldwin said of Brown, who accounted for 227 all-purpose yards last week against the Bengals.
“He makes them go offensively, and without him at the helm they’re probably different on offense. He’s unique with that offense and he’s incredibly good,” Baldwin said.
The stats bear that out. Against a daunting schedule that also includes Montana, Arizona State, Northern Iowa and Montana State, Brown has put up solid numbers: 529 yards on the ground, 342 passing and 12 touchdowns.
“I think he’s one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country, and he doesn’t get the respect he deserves,” Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said Wednesday.
Brown, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Compton, California, has moved steadily up the depth chart. He started four games as a sophomore in 2013, and saw action in the Mustangs’ 35-22 home loss that year to EWU.
Brown had a breakout season last year, rushing and passing for over 1,000 yards each on the way to being an All-Big Sky third-team selection. He threw for over 190 yards in three of Cal Poly’s 12 games, completing 102 of 171 passes (60 percent), Brown also threw 12 touchdowns and was intercepted just three times.
Says Walsh, “He’s the leader of the team. He’s really matured as a young man, and he’s a tremendous guy in every way.”
That is , when he isn’t putting fear in the hearts of opposing defenses.
EWU, Poly have things in common
Film study is getting easier for the Eastern coaches.
Before the season began, the staff had to rely on film from last year. They could study opposing schemes, but not necessarily the players, because many had moved on.
A month into the season, coaches are getting a look at current players. This week, there’s an added bonus, as the Eagles and Cal Poly have two common opponents in Northern Iowa and Montana State. That allows the coaches to assess players as well as schemes.
For the record, Eastern lost at Northern Iowa 38-35 and defeated MSU 55-50 the following week. Cal Poly has lost to both teams, falling at home to UNI 34-20 on Sept. 19 and 45-28 at MSU a week later.
Surprise teams North Dakota, ISU meet
Before the season began, the media picked Idaho State to finish third in the Big Sky, while North Dakota was tabbed for ninth.
A month into the season, ISU is 0-2 in the conference, while UND is 2-0 in league and a league-best 4-1 overall. The teams meet Saturday in Grand Forks, N.D., in a game that could be the Bengals’ last chance to get back in the playoff hunt.
The Bengals were outscored 132-8 in losses to FBS teams Boise State and UNLV, then were clobbered 58-26 last weekend at Cal Poly. Meanwhile, North Dakota has been winning the close ones: it defeated UC Davis 31-24 two weeks ago before knocking off previously unbeaten Portland State 19-17 on the road last week.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.