Sept. 26, 2009
DAVIS, Calif. - Receiver Chris Carter caught 11 passes and Sean Kelley kicked three field goals - including a career-best 46-yarder - as UC Davis earned its first win of the season with a 29-13 nonconference football win over Western Oregon on Saturday night before 10,078 fans at Aggie Stadium.
UC Davis, which faces national power Boise State next Saturday, improved to 1-2 while NCAA Division II Western Oregon fell to 2-2. Aggie quarterback Greg Denham threw for 225 yards and two scores while cornerback Kenneth Brown had an interception, forced a fumble and had two pass breakups to help pace the defense. He also blocked an extra-point attempt.
Kelley converted field goals of 46, 36 and 39 yards in the game, making three in a game for the first time in his career.
"I'm very happy for the players and staff to get the win," said Aggie head coach Bob Biggs. "Obviously it was hard-fought. I thought Western Oregon did some good things and had us on our heels for a little bit.
"I was very pleased with our defensive effort," he said. "Two great turnovers allowed us to get a couple of scores. Obviously our special teams have improved. I thought our kickoff team was great, and Sean Kelley had three field goals tonight."
Quarterback Josh Riddell threw for 200 yards for Western Oregon while throwing a 41-yard touchdown pass to Justin Ore. Ore had four catches for 92 yards. Cornerback Miguel Gonzalez had an interception for the Wolves.
Kelley staked UC Davis to an early 3-0 lead, splitting the uprights from 46 yards just four minutes into the game. It was the longest of his career, surpassing 36-yarders he made last year against Montana and North Dakota.
The Aggies later added to their first-half scoring with a pair of touchdowns, both set up by Brown. He nabbed his first career interception when he picked off Riddell at the Wolves' 27 and returned it to the two-yard line early in the second quarter, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Joe Trombetta with 9 minutes, 2 seconds left in the half.
UC Davis pushed the lead to 16-0 with 28 seconds to go when Denham found Bakari Grant in the corner of the end zone on an 11-yard score, a touchdown made possible after Brown forced a fumble by DJ Jackson at the Western Oregon 11-yard line.
Ore's 41-yard touchown reception from Riddell with just under three minutes go in the third quarter capped an early drive by Western Oregon and brought them to within 16-6. Riddell then got the Wolves to within a field goal later in the third, scrambling from 11 yards to cap a 12-play, 80-yard drive with 4:15 to play.
A three-yard touchdown pass from Denham to Sean Creadick late in the quarter, followed by field goals of 36 and 39 yards from Kelley in the fourth helped UC Davis widen its advantage to 29-13.
Carter, who set a school record with 18 receptions against Montana on Sept. 12, added nearly a dozen more against Western Oregon, finishing with 77 yards. He's corralled 33 over the Aggies' first three games, giving him 161 in his career to move into sixth all-time at UC Davis. Creadick had six catches while Grant had five for 61 yards.
Denham completed 29 of 50 passes for 225 yards and was intercepted once - by Gonzalez at the Western Oregon 2. Trombetta led all rushers with 41 yards on 16 carries.
"We're doing some good things." said Biggs. "We've got to get better offensively. We're just not in sync right now. Part of it is we have so many guys injured."
Brown had three tackles to go with his defensive totals while also blocking a PAT after Western Oregon's first score. Linebacker Dozie Amajoyi had a team-high six tackles, including a five-yard sack, while linebacker Marshall Congdon and end Eric Sobotka had five tackles. UC Davis had three sacks in the game and nine tackles for losses, including three by tackle Jacob Maxson. The Aggies held Western Oregon to 48 rushing yards.
Biggs credited special teams for helping lead the win.
"Our punt game again kept them stuck back in their side of the field," said Biggs. "We're winning the field management part of the game it's seemed like the last two games, and that's huge. And then when we can convert field goals like Sean was doing today from 45 yards in, that's the difference in the game. You're not always going to be great in every facet of the game, but we've been very good in the last two games in a couple of facets, and that's been the difference."
Riddell completed 16 of 39 passes for his 200 yards while also being intercepted. Sean Fullerton matched Ore with four catches. Linebacker John Breza and safety Andy Jackson each had a game-high 10 tackles while linebacker Gavin Romanick picked up a sack.
The Aggies improved to 9-0 all-time against the Wolves.
UC Davis will now prepare for Boise State, ranked No. 8 among NCAA FBS schools. The Broncos, coached by Aggie alumnus Chris Petersen, are 4-0 after a 49-14 win at Bowling Green on Saturday. Petersen was the quarterback for UC Davis when it last faced Boise State in 1986.