Oct. 2, 2004
GREELEY, Colo. - Quarterback Jon Grant threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and linebacker Ben Reece recorded a pair of sacks and recovered a fumble as UC Davis beat Northern Colorado 30-20 in a Great West Football Conference game on Saturday afternoon, giving head coach Bob Biggs his 100th career win.
The victory keeps the Aggies unbeaten, improving their overall record to 4-0 and their conference mark to 2-0. Northern Colorado, one of the preseason favorites for the first-year league's championship, dropped to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the GWFC.
"I'm very, very happy for our coaching staff and happy for this group of players," Biggs said of his 100th win. "To be able to win it with this group of players - because this is as unselfish and close a football team as I've been associated with - I'm very happy for them and our coaching staff."
Biggs is 100-34-1 and in his 12th year as head coach of the Aggies.
UC Davis withstood an outstanding offense performance by Bears wide receiver Vincent Jackson who finished with nine catches for a career-best 246 yards and three touchdowns, a week after gaining 227 yards on 15 catches in a 27-16 loss at Montana last week.
The Aggies were held without a score in the second half after scoring 23 points in the second quarter for a 30-14 halftime lead. Grant helped lead the way in the opening half, throwing for 213 yards and all three of his scores. He hit receiver Kevin Freeman on a 30-yard scoring strike just under two minutes into the game, scrambled to his right and threw across his body to find Tony Kays on a 20-yard score on the first play of the second quarter, and then threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Oliva midway through the quarter.
"We had a great game plan going in, we watched a lot of film on these guys and we executed in the first half," said Grant. "The offensive line blocked great, the receivers were getting open and it was pretty fun to play."
Quarterback Tony Christensen's 18-yard touchdown strike to Jackson tied the game in the first quarter before the two paired up on a 62-yard passing score just after Kays' touchdown, knotting the game 14-14.
But Oliva's touchdown reception capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive with 8 minutes, 8 seconds left before half for a 21-14 lead while tackle Tyler Birkley's and cornerback Angelo Caffese's sack of Christensen in the endzone resulted in the team's first safety in more than two years with 4:39 to go.
UC Davis took the free kick after the safety and drove to the 1, allowing running back O.J. Swanigan to score the Aggies' final touchdown, this one giving them a 16-point halftime lead.
However, Northern Colorado's defense stiffened after halftime, forcing the Aggies into four punts while blocking the second of two field goa attempts. The UC Davis defense, though, tightened as well picking up three turnovers, two of them deep inside the Aggies' territory.
The first came when Andre Wilson was hit and fumbled at the 10, a ball which was recovered by strong safety Dan Reece. His brother, Ben, who finished with seven tackles to go with a pair of sacks that resulted in 13 yards of losses, then recovered a fumble at the Bears' 17 with 6:42 left in the third.
Dan Reece then made one of the game's biggest defensive play, grabbing a ball right out of the hands of receiver Jamar Farbes' hands in the endzone with 6:06 left in the game, returning it to the Aggies' 1. An ensuing drive of nearly four minutes helped the Aggies chew a lot of the remaining clock.
Freeman finished with seven catches for 98 yards, Oliva caught six balls for 64 yards and Nelson Doris had a team-high 75 rushing yards. Oliva also had a long punt return for the third consecutive game, going 60 yards against Northern Colorado in the second quarter. Wilson tallied a game-high 116 rushing yards for Northern Colorado while Christensen threw for 279 yards.
UC Davis recorded a season-high six sacks in the game which resulted in 32 yards of losses. Six different players got hands in the sacks with Ben Reece leading the way with his two. Linebacker Dan Elbanna had a team-high eight tackles while cornerback Derick Daniels and Dan Reece had interceptions.
UC Davis returns to action on Saturday with a nonconference road game at Division II Western Oregon. Kickoff is 2 p.m.