Sept. 28, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Gabe Manzanares rushed for a career-high 208 yards and a game-clinching fourth-quarter touchdown, as UC Davis beat Idaho State 30-13 in the Big Sky Conference football opener for both teams Saturday night at Aggie Stadium
The win was the first for Aggie head coach Ron Gould who took over the program last December. UC Davis improved to 1-4 with the victory while Idaho State, which dropped its 41st consecutive road game, evened its record at 2-2.
Quarterback Randy Wright came off the bench to throw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, finding receiver Tom Hemmingsen in the first quarter and fullback Dalton Turay in the fourth.
Safety Charles Boyett had a team-high seven tackles while defensive linemen Marques Barron and Anthony Kaspar, along with linebacker Ryan Dimino each had six. The defense also picked up three sacks.
UC Davis led 16-3 before Luke Austin's five-yard touchdown pass from Justin Arias midway through the fourth quarter cut the lead to 16-10. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff set Idaho State in business inside the Aggies' 10-yard line but the Bengals were held to a field goal.
UC Davis responded on its next drive, however, with a 74-yard drive that was capped by Turay's eight-yard touchdown reception with 3:57 remaining. The Aggies got the ball back on an interception from Aaryn Jones and Manzanares answered with a 50-yard run that set up his eventual one-yard plunge that gave UC Davis a defining 30-13 lead.
"This win is a culmination of all (of the team's) hard work," Gould said. "We wear wristbands that say 'Focus on the Process,' and that's what I told the guys today. I told them about faith - believing in things you do not see - and asked the guys to keep working. That is what this is all about. This victory is for these young men."
UC Davis moved the ball well on its first two drives but was only able to come away with a 34-yard field goal from Brady Stuart. But the defense came up big on Idaho State's next drive, getting a fumble off a sack from defensive end Colin Kelly, setting the Aggies up at their own 45.
Wright then came on in relief of starter Jimmy Laughrea and guided UC Davis to a touchdown when he found Tom Hemmingsen for a 20-yard score late in the first quarter. Two field goals from Stuart in the second quarter; the first from 36 yards and the other from 20 on the half's final play, put UC Davis in front 16-0.
The Aggies punted on their first five drives of the second half after gaining 282 total yards over the first two quarters. The Bengals were turned away on each of their first four drives before getting their two field goals and touchdown on their next three.
Receiver T.J. King caught four passes for 70 yards, Hemmingsen had a 51-yard punt return - the program's longest since 2004 - and Turay caught three passes for 54 yards including a 40-yarder.
UC Davis' defense held Idaho State to 326 total yards including just 112 yards on the ground. The Bengals were also limited to just 4 of 20 on third down. Kelly and Pitts each had solo sacks while defensive tackle Anthony Kaspar and Kyle DeVaughn had a half-sack each. The Aggie pass rush also picked up seven quarterback hurries, including three by Kaspar.
Wright completed completed 14 of 22 passes for his 201 yards. UC Davis had a season-high 455 offensive yards.
"I am happy for Coach Gould," Wright said. "I wanted to get Coach his first win in South Dakota, I am just glad that we were able to win today's game. I am happy for my teammates because we kept fighting throughout the game."
Arias completed 19 of 45 passes for 214 yards for the Bengals while running back Xavier Finney rushed for 94 yards. Linebacker Mitch Beckstead and defensive back Tanner Davis each had 10 tackles.
Manzanares' rushing yards are tied for the 10th-most in school history and are the most since Matt Massari rushed for 221 yards against Cal Poly in 2002.
"I think the ground game is a big strength of our offense," said Manzanares. "The O-line worked hard; we take pride in our running game."
UC Davis returns to action next weekend when it travels to face Southern Utah in another Big Sky matchup.