Aug. 27, 2012
The USD Toreros (0-0) open up their 2012 campaign with a road contest against the Cal Poly Mustangs (0-0) on Saturday, September 1st. 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.
SERIES RECORD: This will be just the second 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.
WEBCAST/VIDEO STREAM: Saturday's contest will be webcast live with Jack Cronin calling the action. His pre-game begins at 3:55 pm (PST). The audio feed will be streamed at www.usdtoreros.com. Cal Poly offers a free video stream of the game at www.gopoly.com.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros return to Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium on Saturday, September 8th, for a 6:05 p.m. contest against Western New Mexico University. WNMU opens up their season this Saturday with a game at Sol Ross in Alpine, Texas.
PFL SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST 30TH & SEPT. 1ST: (Thur., Aug. 30th) - Butler at Western Illinois, Shorter at Campbell, Southern Virginia at Morehead State, St. Joseph's at Valparaiso. (Sat., Sept. 1st) - Dayton at Illinois State, Grand View at Drake, Marist at Bryant, Jacksonville at Georgia Southern, Georgetown at Davidson, USD at Cal Poly.
TOREROS TABBED PFL FAVORITE IN PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The University of San Diego and Drake University, the defending Pioneer Football League co-champions, were picked to finish first and second, respectively, in the league's preseason coaches' poll. The upcoming 2012 season marks the 20th year for the Pioneer Football League - the nation's only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. San Diego received eight of a possible nine first place votes and 79 of 81 possible points as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll. Drake received one first place vote and 71 possible points. Both the Toreros and Bulldogs finished the 2011 campaign with identical 7-1 records, San Diego winning the regular-season meeting between the two teams. The two teams will meet again in 2012 with Drake hosting San Diego in an Oct. 6 contest. Jacksonville was picked to finish third with 65 points. Dayton picked up the remaining first-place vote and 56 total points to finish fourth in the preseason poll. Campbell rounded out the poll's top half with 45 points for fifth place. Marist (6th, 42 points), Butler (7th, 34), Morehead State (8th, 27), Davidson (9th, 20) and Valparaiso (10th, 11) rounded out the PFL Preseason Poll.
2012 TORERO OUTLOOK: Despite the loss of 21 players from last year's Pioneer Football League championship team, sixth-year head coach Ron Caragher returns a strong nucleus of skill players to go with a solid group of returners and newcomers as they aim for a second consecutive PFL title. The Toreros, coming off a 9-2 season (7-1 PFL mark), have been tabbed the 2012 PFL favorite in the preseason coaches poll. To get ready for league play, USD will play arguably its toughest nonconference slate to date with its season opener at Cal Poly on September 1st, followed by a home date with Western New Mexico and a cross country trip to face Harvard for the first time ever in week three. Directing the Torero offense will be junior QB Mason Mills (184-298; 2,370 yards; 22 TDs), last year's USD Offensive MVP. Two targets that should get plenty of balls thrown their way include junior Sam Hoekstra (53 catches for 554 yards, 6 TDs) and sophomore Brandon White (45 for 561 yards, 5 TDs). The backfield will be in good hands with the return of junior Kenn James (1,208 yards; 12 TDs) and back-up Joe Ferguson (American River JC). Last season James, USD's team MVP, ranked second in the FCS in all-purpose running (210.3 yards per game). Up front look for senior linemen Matt Peleti (6-3, 300 lbs.) and Mike Arnold (6-3, 290 lbs.) to solidify the pass protection and run blocking. The Torero defense will be anchored by junior defensive end Blake Oliaro (6-5, 250 lbs.), a 2012 Buchanan Watch List candidate. Oliaro is coming off an outstanding 2011 campaign that saw him earn Associated Press FCS All-America Second Team honors. Additionally, he was named the PFL Defensive Player of the Year and the USD's Defensive Most Valuable Player. He tied for 4th in the FCS in sacks (1.36) and ranked 10th in tackles for loss (1.77). Oliaro is joined by plenty of teammates with starting experience with the return of senior defensive tackle Dustin Geyer; linebackers Zach Devaney and Zach Dunaj (team best 74 tackles); corner Jamil Wade and safety Joey York. Additional defensive returners expected to play key roles include junior safety Robbie Beathard, junior corner Ryan Costa, junior defensive end Steve Gargiulo and senior corner Fred Obi. In the special teams department, look for senior Ernie Collins to see plenty of action with punting & kicking chores, while the return game is anchored by Kenn James (24.4 yards) on kickoffs and Sam Hoekstra (11.2 yards) on punts.
OLIARO CONTINUES TO RACK UP PRESEASON HONORS: San Diego junior DE Blake Oliaro (Folsom, CA) continues to rack up preseason recognition with the College Sports Journal naming him to their preseason FCS All-America team. Oliaro has already been named to the Preseason All-America teams selected by Phil Steele's Magazine, College Sporting News and The Sports Network. He also was named to The College Sports Network's Buck Buchanan Preseason Watch List. Oliaro also was a preseason All-PFL pick by the league's coaches after earning Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-PFL honors last season. He finished the season ranked fourth among FCS athletes with 1.36 sacks per game (15 sacks in 11 games) and was ranked 10th nationally with 1.77 tackles for loss per game (19.5 total).
FIVE TOREROS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PFL SQUAD: Joining Blake Oliaro on the 2012 Preseason All-PFL squad is senior LB Zach Dunaj (Thousand Oaks, CA), senior OL Matt Peleti (Laguna Nigel, CA), junior WR Sam Hoekstra (Carlsbad, CA) and junior RB & return specialist Kenn James (San Diego, CA).
FORMER TOREROS IN NFL CAMPS: USD had five former players in NFL camps this season, including two from last year's 9-2 ball club... Patrick "Packy" Doyle signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers and was competing at a hybrid fullback position, but is now done for the year with an undisclosed injury; Mario Kurn signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Raiders, but is currently on their injured reserve list with a knee injury. Former USD head coach and current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has three players in camp - QB Josh Johnson, DE Eric Bakhtiari and DB Ben Hannula.
QUARTET RECEIVE 2011 ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: Four Toreros were named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America District 8 Division I football team. The four Toreros included junior FB Nick Scudellari (Saratoga, CA; 3.66 GPA, Accountancy), junior OL Matt Peleti (Laguna Niguel, CA; 3.59 GPA, Finance), sophomore DB Robbie Beathard (San Diego, CA; 3.76 GPA, Accountancy), and sophomore DE Blake Oliaro (Folsom, CA; 3.62 GPA, Mechanical Engineering).
TOREROS TEN YEAR RUN: Over the past 10 seasons the Toreros have combined for an overall record of 71-32 (68.9 winning %)... Last year's 9-2 mark was Coach Caragher's third 9-2 record in five seasons... His 7-1 PFL record earned him his second PFL title (also won it in 2007)... Over the past 10 years the Toreros own an overall Pioneer Football League record of 47-15.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly football, which has a rich history and tradition that dates back to 1915, enters its first year as a member of the Big Sky Conference... Head Coach Tim Walsh (4th season; 17-16 at Cal Poly) returns 53 lettermen and 11 starters (4 offense/ 4 defense/ 3 specialists) from last year's 6-5 team (3-1; tie-1st place in Great West Conference)... Leading the offensive attack will be senior QB Andre Broadous (101-170 passing for 1,235 yards and 9 TDs; added 646 yards rushing and a school-record 18 TDs)... He was tabbed All-Great West Second Team in 2011... Senior slotback Deonte Williams returns after rushing for 385 yards and 5 TDs in his first season... A trio of wide receivers give the Mustangs some depth in this department - sophomore Lance Castaneda (26 catches, 283 yards, 1 TD), sophomore Willie Tucker (14 catches, 265 yards, 2 TDs) and senior Brandon Michalkiewicz (10 catches, 161 yards)... The Mustang defense will be bolstered by senior LB Kennith Jackson (80 tackles; All-Great West 1st team) and junior LB Johnny Millard (82 tackles, 9 TFL; All-Great West 2nd team)... The secondary will be paced by junior DB Vante Smith-Johnson (30 tackles) and junior Alex Hubbard (45 tackles, 10 pass breakups, 3 picks)... Sophomore kicker Paul Hundley returns to handle punting chores (29.8 average in 2011).