Yale vs. No. 19 Cal Poly – Keys to the Game

Saturday’s game marks the third time the Bulldogs (2-0; 1-0) have made a trip to The Golden State and the first since a 2006 matchup with the University of San Diego. Yale is riding two 15-point wins, but they’ll face their toughest test yet against No. 19 Cal Poly (2-2; 1-0). The game kicks off at 5:05 pm EST. Listen on

Spanos Stadium

John’s Keys to the Game

1. Make Cal Poly beat you through the air.

After Cal Poly starting quarterback Vince Moraga went down in the game against Fresno State, the Mustangs turned to sophomore backup Chris Brown. And while Brown has shown that he’s comfortable tucking the ball and running, averaging 76 yards per game on the ground, he’s had less success passing. In addition, running back Kristaan Ivory has terrorized defenses this season, averaging 130 rushing yards per game and 6.6 per carry. The Bulldogs pride themselves on stopping the run, something they did well against Cornell last week, but the Mustangs present a much bigger challenge. Cal Poly run the triple option and are going to run the ball early and often but, if Cal Poly can’t get it working in the passing game, the Bulldogs might be able to bring another defender or two into the box.

2. Beat the heat

This week Coach Reno talked about the need to stay hydrated under the scorching California sun. Cal Poly Coach Tim Walsh said that his team normally plays night games, so an afternoon in the heat could present challenges to both teams. Currently, temperatures in the low 80s are forecasted for game time, a welcome reprieve from the high 80s temps the Bulldogs expected, but hydration will still be important.

3. Play at a high tempo

One of the reasons the Bulldogs found so much success in their last two games was their ability to control the tempo on offense. And for the Bulldogs, controlling the tempo means controlling defensive substitutions and keeping their opponents on their heels. With speedy athletes like Deon Randall, Chris Smith, Sebastian Little and Grant Wallace on the edge and an ox in Tyler Varga at running back, the Bulldogs have the weapons to wear down a defense. They’ve done that successfully against both Colgate and Cornell, but the Cal Poly defense is used to facing an up-tempo offense everyday in practice. If the Bulldogs offense can keep the high tempo against the Mustangs, they’ll wear down the defense, which should give Varga and his O-Line plenty of opportunities late in the ballgame.

– John Ryan