Sept. 15, 2012
BROOKINGS, S.D. - Jonathan Perkins had a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown to highlight UC Davis' strong defensive effort, but Zach Zenner rushed for 191 yards and two TD's, including the eventual game-winner, as South Dakota State edged the Aggies 12-8 in a nonconference football game Saturday afternoon.
UC Davis dropped to 1-2 with the loss while South Dakota State, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, improved to 2-1.
Linebacker Steven Pitts tied for game-high tackle honors with 10 while Perkins' interception TD return was the first for UC Davis since Adam Cook went 87 yards against Sacramento State in 2007.
The Jackrabbits outgained UC Davis 373-273 but a majority of their yards came from Zenner, who carried the ball 21 times. He had 133 yards in the first half but was limited to just 64 in the second. Zenner entered the game averaging 230.5 yards.
The defensive battle featured 16 punts and only two drives greater than 50 yards. The Aggies punted on all five of their first-half drives while the Jackrabbits punted three times, fumbled, were intercepted once and missed a long field goal besides scoring a TD from Zenner.
The game was scoreless into the second quarter before South Dakota, starting at its own 10-yard line, moved to the UC Davis 34 on 10 plays. Quarterback Austin Sumner passed for 44 yards on the drive before his pass near the Aggie sideline found Perkins who stepped in front of the receiver. Perkins took the pick up the sideline before cutting to the middle where he found the endzone.
Alex Cannon then took the two-point conversion in off the left edge, reaching the ball across the goal line while being tackled at the 1.
South Dakota State came right back, however, moving nine yards on its first play of the ensuing drive to its own 39. Zenner then broke through on the left side on the next play, going 61 yards for the score. The Jackrabbits missed their two-point try and UC Davis held an 8-6 lead.
Neither team got inside the redzone or had serious scoring threats until the Jackrabbits started on their own 27 and moved to UC Davis' 23 early in the fourth quarter. Zenner provided the eventual game-winner on the next play, scooting through on the right side and scoring from 23 yards.
Another two-point failed but the Jackrabbits led 12-8.
London Lacy came in for quarterback Randy Wright after Wright's helmet came off on a play two drives later. Lacy stayed in the game and moved UC Davis inside Jackrabbits territory before his pass on 4th-and-13 fell incomplete. The Aggies had one final drive deep in their own territory in the final seconds but could not get close.
Wright finished with 116 yards passing while Lacy had 67. Marquis Nicolis rushed for 39 yards and Tim Benton had five catches for 66 yards.
Pitts had a three-yard sack among his 10 tackles while safety Kevyn Lewis had eight stops and forced two fumbles. Nick King had two sacks totaling 15 yards while linebacker Jordan Glass and defensive tackle Andrew Benjamin each had one.
Besides his interception, Perkins had a 22-yard fumble recovery.
Sumner passed for 191 yards for South Dakota State while T.J. Lally had 10 solo tackles.
UC Davis will hit the road for the third straight week next Saturday when it opens Big Sky Conference action at rival Cal Poly.