Points, points and more points. That's what I'd expect when the Bengals travel to San Luis Obispo to take on an explosive Cal Poly team on Saturday night. The Mustangs have averaged 53 points a game in their last four outings, including a 69-point monster against Southern Utah this past Saturday. They will give the Bengal defenders, who will be busing to Salt Lake, flying to Oakland, then busing to SLO, plenty of opportunity to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out those cramped leg muscles.
The marquee name for Cal Poly is Ramses Barden, not only because he has a cool name, but because he's one of the best offensive players in the country, no matter what class you're talking about. Barden, a majestic 6-foot-6 and 228 pounds, considered going to the NFL after his junior season, but the NFL projected him as only a fifth round draft choice. So he's back at Cal Poly, where he's averaging 21 yards a catch and has already put up 10 touchdown catches in six games this season.
Throwing the football to Barden will be Jonathan Dally (pronounced like alley), probably the most underrated quarterback in the FCS. Dally put together one of the best all-around games I've ever seen a quarterback play against the Bengals last year. He ran for 119 yards and a touchdown, and completed 16 of 24 passes for 453 yards and five touchdowns. Over the last season and a half, Dally has thrown 44 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. His numbers this year reflect improved accuracy over last season, with Dally completing almost 68 percent of his passes, and he has 15 touchdown throws to just one pick so far this year.
Cal Poly is 5-1 on the year, losing only to Montana when they missed on a last-second field goal in the second game of the season, and the Mustangs own a 29-27 win over FBS team San Diego State in the season-opener. They will put up points on Saturday night, of that there is no doubt.
The "good news" for the Bengals is that Cal Poly's own defense has proven to be more than vulnerable. Southern Utah scored 41 points against the Mustangs last Saturday, largely on the strength of a 469-yard passing day by SUU's Cody Stone. Bengal fans will remember last year, when Josh Barnett ran for 118 yards and Jaron Taylor (pictured) had his coming out party with a four-catch, 149-yard, two touchdown night for ISU. If Bengal WR Eddie Thompson is available to team with Taylor and Isaiah Burel (we'll hear more on ET's injury situation from Bengal Coach John Zamberlin on tonight's coach's show -- 6 p.m., KSEI 930-AM), it should be "points-a-plenty" on the Central Coast.
Oh and thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.