Oct. 5, 2002
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Quarterback Ryan Flanigan passed fo 229 yards and two touchdowns and linebacker Justin Patterson scored a defensive touchdown for the second straight week, highlighting No.9 UC Davis' 38-21 win over NCAA Division I-AA Sacramento State during the 49th annual Causeway Classic, played before 15,892 at Hughes Stadium.
The win was the Aggies' fourth straight this season and their third straight over the Hornets, improving their record to 4-1. UC Davis has won the Causeway Classic 9 of the past 11 seasons. Sacramento State, which was led by 265 yards passing from quarterback Ryan Leadingham dropped to 1-4.
Additionally, running back Matt Massari rushed a career-high 25 times on Saturday, gaining 133 yards and scoring on a five-yard run in the first quarter. Receiver Michael Oliva caught four passes for 81 yards, and Kevin Freeman and tight end Joe Bandel each caught 15-yard touchdown passes.
Defensively, the Aggies had another stellar game against the rush, allowing only 59 yards to Sacramento State, just six yards above UC Davis' season average. They also recorded five sacks in the game and had interceptions by linebacker Dan Elbanna and Dan Reece.
UC Davis led the game 24-7 in the third quarter after Patterson's 66-yard fumble recovery that was caused when defensive end B.J. Brust sacked Leadingham, jarring the ball loose. Patterson scored a touchdownf for the second straight week - and the fourth time in his career - after also scampering 66 yards on an interception return at Western Oregon last week.
The Aggies had taken that 17-point lead after Massari's score in the first, a 38-yard field goal by Dusty Apocotos late in the opening quarter, and 10-yard punt return for a score by Michael Penna with 10:18 left in the half that was caused when Elbanna blocked Paul Kerr's punt.
Garrett White's 7-yard score on a fake field goal attempt with 47 seconds left in the first half made it 17-7 at halftime.
Trailing 24-7, Sacramento State rallied when Leadingham hit receiver Kenan Smith on an 11-yard pass to the Aggies' 37, which Smith then lateraled to White who ran in for the score untouched down the sideline. Fred Amey's school-record 90-yard punt return with just over a minute gone in the fourth quarter made it 24-21, but the Aggies pulled away as Flanigan hit Bandel from 15-yards with 11:38 to go and Freeman scored on a 15-yarder from Flanigan with 9:04 left.
"This was a big win tonight for a lot of reasons; the tradition, the rivalry," said UC Davis Coach Bob Biggs. "We showed great character. There were a lot of momentum swings against us and each time we bounced back and showed a lot of character. That is a real plus for the rest of the season.
"We look at this game as a big challenge," he added. "We like to go out and show people that playing together and playing hard, good things can happen. The players and coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for that."
UC Davis returns to action on Oct. 19 with its Homecoming game at Toomey Field against Humboldt State. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m.
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All-American by HERO Sports