Oct. 2, 2010
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Tom Hemmingsen's 4-yard touchdown pass from Randy Wright late in third quarter proved to be the winning score on Saturday evening as UC Davis rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to stun Western Athletic Conference member San Jose State 14-13 in a nonconference football game at Spartan Stadium.
The win, the Aggies' second over an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) since the start of the 2005 season, gives UC Davis a 2-3 record heading into next week's Great West Conference opener against South Dakota at Aggie Stadium.
San Jose State, which was facing UC Davis for the third time since 2007, fell to 1-5 while playing its annual homecoming matchup. Lamon Muldrow rushed for 137 yards to lead the Spartans.
Wright threw for 223 yards to help lead the Aggie offense while receiver Sean Creadick had six catches for 88 yards. Linebacker Dozie Amajoyi had a game-high 10 tackles, including a TFL for seven yards.
The UC Davis defense held the Spartans to just 108 total yards in the second half after San Jose State piled up 231 before intermission. The Aggies also finished with three sacks including one that helped lead to their first points of the game.
The Spartans turned away UC Davis with a goal-line stand just before halftime, taking a 13-0 lead into the break. However, running back Nick Aprile, operating out of the Aggies' version of the Wildcat, dove in from a yard out on fourth down midway through the third to cut it to 13-7.
UC Davis then drove 78 yards on eight plays later in the quarter, capping the drive with Wright's touchdown pass to Hemmingsen in the back of the end zone with 1 minute, 26 seconds to go that put the Aggies in front for the first time, 14-13.
The Spartans had a chance to take the lead late in the game but kicker Harrison Waid's 52-yard field goal was wide left and the Aggies were able to run out the final 3:31 of the game.
"This team, we needed a win, we really did," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs."We played well in spurts and the thing is they continue to play hard and they just believe in each other. Even at halftime, this team already had three losses and we couldn't punch that ball in. Most teams would've really folded at that point but we didn't. We came out and played very, very hard in the second half."
San Jose State forged its 13-point halftime lead scoring on three straight possessions after punting on its first. Jalal Beauchman hauled in a 25-yard pass from backup quarterback Matt Faulkner late in the first quarter, extending the Spartans' lead to 10-0 after Harrison Waid's 36-yard field goal opened the scoring earlier.
Waid added a 35-yard field goal with just over five minutes gone in the second quarter to make it 13-0 and San Jose State seemed in control. UC Davis had punted on its first four drives - including a trio of three-and-outs to open the game - before putting together an 11-play, 79-yard drive to get down to the Spartan 8 late in the half.
Two replay challenges went against UC Davis from there. The first came when the Aggies thought Josh Reese had snuck across the goal line on a short swing pass, and the second when Aprile was initially ruled to have scored on a short plunge on fourth down only to have that play reversed on challenge.
The Aggies had just 89 total yards in the first half.
UC Davis picked up a big break in the third quarter when quarterback Jordan La Secia fumbled on a sack by Andrew Benjamin at the 13. Defensive end Tommy Grillo pounced on it at the 9, leading to Aprile's dive in from a yard out with 8:30 left in the third.
The defense then forced a punt and UC Davis moved from its 22 to the San Jose State 6, highlighting the drive on a 44-yard pass completion from Wright to Creadick. Hemmingsen's touchdown catch came on third down after Wright rolled to his right and found Hemmingsen in the back of the end zone.
Jonathan Perkins picked off La Secia at the UC Davis 34 to end a threat at the end of the third quarter, setting up a fourth quarter when the teams traded punts before Waid's long miss.
"The defense was playing great all night and once the offense got our confidence that we could move the ball on this team, the rest took care of itself," said Wright.
UC Davis went without a turnover for the second straight game. Wright completed 20 of 34 passes while Anthony Soto and Marquis Nicolos backed up Creadick with four catches each. Reese rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries but the Aggies were held to 37 yards on the ground.
Byron Gruendl and Eric Sobotka added sacks for UC Davis which had eight TFL's overall. Safety Danny Hart and Gruendl each had nine tackles.
UC Davis will open league play against South Dakota next Saturday, hosting the Coyotes in the Aggies' annual homecoming game at 6 p.m. South Dakota also owns a win over an FBS team this year having upset Minnesota on Sept. 11.