Aug 27, 2013
GAME #1: The USD Toreros (0-0), under the direction of first year head coach Dale Lindsey, open up their 2013 campaign with a road contest against the #11/#14 Cal Poly Mustangs (0-0) on Saturday, August 31st. Kickoff is slated for 4:05 p.m. at Alex G. Spanos Stadium (11,075 capacity) on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo. This is the second straight year for the Toreros to open up their season at Cal Poly. The Mustangs enter the 2013 campaign ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision preseason coaches poll and 14th in the The Sports Network preseason media poll.
SERIES RECORD: This will be just the third time these two schools have met. The first meeting came during the 1959 season with the Mustangs dealing USD a 36-14 setback in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly won last year's home meeting 41-14 on September 1st, 2012.
WEBCAST/VIDEO STREAM: Saturday's contest will be webcast live with Jack Cronin calling the action. His pre-game begins at 3:50 pm (PST). The audio feed will be streamed at www.usdtoreros.com. Cal Poly offers a free video stream of the game and live stats at www.gopoly.com.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros return to Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium on Saturday, September 7th, for a 6:05 p.m. contest against Western New Mexico University. The contest will be the season opener for the WNMU Mustangs. USD will be putting a 12-game home winning streak that dates back to the 2010 season on the line.
PFL SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST 29th & AUG. 31st: (Thu., Aug. 29th) - Grand View at Drake, Pikeville (Ky.) at Morehead State, Jacksonville at Delaware, Dayton at Youngstown State, Valparaiso at North Dakota. (Sat., Aug. 31st) - Campbell at Charlotte, Reinhardt at Mercer, Sacred Heart at Marist, San Diego at Cal Poly, Butler at South Dakota State, Warner at Stetson.
TOREROS TABBED PFL FAVORITE IN PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The University of San Diego, which has won a share of the last two Pioneer Football League regular season titles, was picked to win the 2013 PFL crown in a preseason vote of the league's coaches. The upcoming 2013 season marks the 21st year for the Pioneer Football League - the nation's only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. The league expands to 12 members for the upcoming campaign, Mercer and Stetson restarting their football programs and joining the league. In addition, the league's regular-season champion will receive an automatic bid into the now 24-team 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship. Last season, the PFL race ended in a three-way tie with San Diego, Butler and Drake each claiming a share of the crown with identical 7-1 league marks. The league's coaches see another tight race in 2013 with four teams claiming at least one first-place vote and those four teams separated by just 12 points. San Diego received five of a possible 12 first-place votes and 111 of a maximum 121 points as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll. Butler was ranked second by one point after receiving four first-place votes. Drake and Jacksonville were picked to finish tied for third with 99 points, receiving one and two first-place votes, respectively. Dayton was picked to finish fifth with 85 points followed by Marist which rounded out the poll's top half with 67 points for sixth place. Morehead State starts the bottom half of the poll, but with 65 points was just two points behind Marist. Campbell (8th, 49 points), Davidson (9th, 42) and Valparaiso (10th, 32) occupy the poll's next three spots. Newcomers Mercer (11th, 20) and Stetson (12th, 13) round out the 12-team poll.
2013 TORERO OUTLOOK: With fourteen starters returning and a handful of others with plenty of game experience back from last year's 8-3 ball club, the cupboard wasn't left bare for first year head coach Dale Lindsey. Having won their final six games to finish 7-1 and earn a share of the Pioneer Football League title with Butler and Drake, the Toreros are excited for the upcoming 2013 campaign. There is also a big carrot dangling in front of them for extra motivation with the PFL champion earning an automatic bid for the first time into the expanded FCS Playoffs. Offensively the Toreros will be directed by senior QB Mason Mills who ranked #1 among FCS passers in 2012 with 70% accuracy. Mills, USD's team MVP, completed 252-of-360 attempts for 3,106 yards and 20 touchdowns. His career numbers are just as impressive with 631-for-948 passing for 7,636 yards and 60 scores. He is on track to leave the USD program as the all-time leader in attempts, completions and yards. Mills will have the luxury of throwing to the team's top three receivers from a year ago - Sam Hoekstra (54-788 yards, 4 TDs), Reggie Bell (47-736 yards, 6 TDs) and Brandon White (43-514 yards, 5 TDs). The offense also returns its top three running backs in Dallas Kessman (453 yards, 7 TDs), Joe Ferguson (447 yards, 4 TDs) and Kenn James (410 yards, 2 TDs), with redshirt freshman Bug Rivera opening a lot of eyes with his play in camp. The backfield will be bolstered by the return of All-PFL fullback Lawrence Larivee, with converted linebacker Montell Allen pushing for a starting spot The offensive line unit will be anchored by the return of All-PFL tackle Cody Tescher; the starting sophomore tandem of Pono Keni and Tobin Gramyk; and guards Jeff Starr and newcomer Daniel Murray. Senior Matt Guillaume is projected to start at tight end, with senior Thomas Cobbs moving over from linebacker to push for playing time. The defense, which held opponents to just 10.6 points over the final six victories in 2012, returns a lot of key personnel. The line will be paced by its two senior ends - Blake Oliaro (7 sacks) and Steve Gargiulo (5 ½ sacks). Both were team leaders in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hurries. The interior line will be solidified by returners Clint Johnson, Brandon Pulealii and Bennie Harris. Senior linebacker Zach Devaney is the squad's top returning tackler with 62 stops. He'll be joined by backers' Michael Ruffino and Troy McClelland as projected starters, with additional time coming from Una Hamala and Ryan Downing. The secondary will receive leadership from senior safety Robbie Beathard and redshirt junior Matt Miller, with corners Toney Sawyer and Jereke Armstrong expected to see plenty of action. All-America kicker Ernie Collins has moved on, but that opens the door for redshirt sophomore David Last out of nearby Valley Center. Last will get pushed by freshman Ryan Belden. Look for Hoekstra to continue his solid play as the team's punt returner, and Kenn James and Troy McClelland on kickoff return duty. USD plays three nonconference games and following their opener at Cal Poly, return to host Western New Mexico (Sept. 7) and Harvard (Sept. 21). USD opens up PFL play at newcomer Stetson on Sept. 28th and will round out their home slate with league contests against Mercer (Oct. 5), Marist (Oct. 12), Butler (Oct. 26) and Drake (Nov. 16).
HOEKSTRA EARNS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA HONORS: San Diego senior Sam Hoekstra was selected to two Preseason All-America squads for his special teams play as a punt returner. He was tabbed third team among all FCS players by The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America team and the College Sports Journal FCS Preseason All-America team. Last season he ranked 20th among all FCS players in punt returns with his 9.18 yards per return average. He enters his final season already as USD's career leader in punt return yards (620), and with his 4th return in 2013, his 65 career returns will top the list currently held by Gavin Ng (64, 2000-2003).
TRIO OF TOREROS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PFL SQUAD: A trio of USD football players were among the 26-man 2013 Preseason All-PFL squads, the league announced today. The three seniors include fullback Lawrence Larivee (Chino Hills, Calif.), wide receiver/return specialist Sam Hoekstra (Carlsbad, Calif.) and offensive tackle Cody Tescher (Glendora, Calif.). Last season Larivee was an All-PFL first team selection, while Hoekstra and Tescher were second team. Returning players who were selected to the leagues' 2012 All-PFL teams were automatically selected to the 2013 preseason team in order of voting. Thirteen preseason selections were first-team selections last season.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly football, which has a rich history and tradition that dates back to 1915, enters its second year as a member of the Big Sky Conference... The Mustangs return 58 lettermen and 17 players who started at least four games in 2012... Leading the list of returnees are a pair of second-team All-Big Sky honorees - linebacker Johnny Millard and defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz... Eight other returners earned honorable mention All-Big Sky recognition... Junior Vince Moraga gets the starting nod at quarterback this Saturday... Defensively all four starting defensive linemen return, and Bobby Zalud, who handled all kicking duties (55-55 PATs, 12-16 field goal, 40.6 punting average) returns... A year ago Cal Poly finished 9-3 overall, captured a share of the Big Sky title in its first year in the conference and earned a second-round NCAA FCS playoff berth, falling 18-16 to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas... They opened the 2012 season with a 41-14 win over San Diego... Cal Poly owned just a 20-14 lead with 12 minutes to go in the game before closing it out with three straight touchdowns... Head Coach Tim Walsh (UC Riverside, '77) begins his 5th year at the helm... He owns a 26-19record at Cal Poly.
NCAA DIVISION I FCS PLAYOFFS: For the first time, the Pioneer Football League regular-season champion will receive an automatic bid into the Division I Football Championship. The championship will expand to 24 teams this season with 11 automatic bids and 13 at-large berths. The football selection committee will select eight national seeds, which will receive a first-round bye. The remaining 16 teams will be placed into the first round spots with emphasis on geographical proximity.
THOMAS COBBS - AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM NOMINEE: Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) recently announced 150 nominees for the 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, the most ever in the award's 22-year history. The award recognizes a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of their communities.USD senior tight end Thomas Cobbs (Irvine, Calif.) received the good news that he is one of the candidates for the 2013 AFCA Good Works Team. Cobbs is the team liaison with the Autism Tree Project in San Diego where he helps develop a buddy program with USD football players and autistic children; he is involved with Lace Up Stand Up, a non bullying workshop where he helps teach kids at local boys and girls clubs about intervention techniques as well as personal responses to handle situations correctly; and he is active with Shop with a Jock, helping underprivileged kids shop for gifts during the holiday season. A Finance/Marketing major with a 3.58 grade-point average, following graduation Cobbs aspires to attend medical school and pursue a career in sports medicine. Since 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has honored college football players at all levels of the sport for their selfless acts of giving back to the community and off-the-field achievements. These student-athletes represent the sport's finest in the areas of volunteerism and leadership amongst their peers.
PIONEER/TORERO FOOTBALL REUNION - SEPT. 20-21: The Pioneer/Torero Football reunion will be held the weekend of September 20-21, 2013 for all who have played or coached at least one year of football at the University of San Diego. On Friday, September 20th, there will be a golf event at Admiral Baker Golf Course beginning at 12 noon, followed by a Happy Hour reception from 5:30-7:30 pm. (location TBD). On Saturday, September 21st, there will be a pre-game brunch/tailgate beginning at 10:00 a.m., followed by Alumni heading down to field at 11:30 a.m. to greet the team before the 12 noon contest with Harvard. Following the game there will be a reunion reception and dinner. For further information, contact Brian Fogarty in the USD Athletic Development office at (619) 260-4614.
FOUR RECEIVE 2012 ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: Four Toreros were named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America District 8 Division I football team. The four Toreros included senior OL Matt Peleti (Laguna Niguel, CA; 3.61 GPA, Finance), junior DB Robbie Beathard (San Diego, CA; 3.79 GPA, Accountancy), junior DE Blake Oliaro (Folsom, CA; 3.56 GPA, Mechanical Engineering), and sophomore DB Troy McClelland (San Diego, CA; 3.84 GPA, Accountancy).
JOHNSON WITH CINCINNATI BENGALS: Josh Johnson (2004-2007) joins the Cincinnati Bengals as an unrestricted free agent for 2013 ... He entered NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 2008 and played in 26 games with five starts for Bucs from '08 through '11 ... Signed with San Francisco as an unrestricted free agent for 2012, was released by the 49ers in final preseason cuts, then signed with Cleveland for the final regular-season game, seeing brief action without a pass attempt ... His career NFL statistics include 96 completions in 177 attempts (54.2 percent) for 1042 yards, five TDs and 10 INTs ... Also has 6.9-yard career rushing average, with 37 carries for 254 yards.
TOREROS TEN YEAR RUN: Over the past 10 seasons the Toreros have combined for an overall record of 81-29 (73.6 winning %)... Last year the Toreros won their final six games to finish 8-3 overall and with a 7-1 Pioneer Football League mark and share of the PFL title for the second straight year... Over the past 10 years the Toreros own an overall PFL record of 51-15 with a share or outright ownership of the league title six times.