Sunday, September 09, 2007

Poly football fumbles one away

When Cal Poly head football coach Rich Ellerson emerged from the locker room after Saturday’s 20-13 loss at Idaho, the first question he asked the writers was: “How many fumbles did we have?”
The response was quite a surprise for anyone who’s followed Cal Poly since Ellerson took over seven years ago.
“You put the ball on the ground seven times and lost four.” (And that didn’t include the botched snap on a field goal attempt that resulted in a turnover on downs in the first half.)
Seven fumbles, four of which were lost by a team who’s No. 1 "key to victory" each week is to “win the turnover battle.”
Well, the Mustangs lost Saturday (read more about the game, and all the fumbles, here).
As quarterback Jonathan Dally put it afterward, “Today, we let it slip out of our hands, literally.”
Seven fumbles is the most by a Cal Poly team in I don’t know how long. (I have Cal Poly’s sports info. department trying to track that one down.)
But it could’ve been worse, I guess.
Looking at the Division I-AA record book, the I-AA/Football Championship Subdivision’s dubious record for most fumbles in a game is 16 by Delaware State in 1980. Delaware St. lost six of those drops against Portland State that season.
The most fumbles in a game by both teams?
That would be the 21 combined fumbles by North Carolina A&T and Lane in 1995. NC A&T had 15 drops in that one, losing nine!
Now that's what I call dropping the ball.
9/11 update: Cal Poly stat guru Eric Burdick says the seven fumbles are the most since the Mustangs' eight fumbles (two lost) against Humboldt State in 2002 -- you know, the wet and wild mud bowl game at Mustang Stadium. The Mustangs also fumbled seven times, losing four, against Northern Arizona in 1999.


Anonymous said...

Attention to detail has got to improve for the season to be salvaged. Fundamentals have to be focused on in practice as well as mixing it up more between wide outs and running backs. And get rid of the laterals!

Go Poly!

Musty said...

And get rid of the laterals, not to mention the play by play announcer. One would have thought when they switched to ESPN they could have atleast held interviews. If it wasn't for Eric, Tom would be LOST.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately laterals (or pitchouts) -- whatever you want to call them are an intregal part of running the triple option offense. Cal Poly is commited to the triple option so they will continue. If you listened to the Rich Ellerson interview on ESPN after the game most of the fumbles occurred on straight handoffs that were not triple option related. If you consider that Cal Poly was playing Idaho which stood in very well a week ago versus USC that overall the team was much improved on the defensive side of the football despite the fact that they are very banged up and missing five starters. Ellerson also commented that the team of linebackers had to and did step up their performance because the d-line was both banged up and overmatched.

I am encouraged by their performance since there is no way that they are going to fumble the game away next week like they did this week.

If they could have protected the football (if pigs could fly) then they could have gone to the halftime dressing room with a lead.