Oct. 10, 2009
VERMILLION, S.D. - Joe Trombetta scored from two yards out in the first overtime and Sean Kelley converted the winning extra point as the UC Davis football team edged host South Dakota 24-23 in a Great West Conference matchup before 9,884 fans at the DakotaDome on Saturday afternoon.
UC Davis improved to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the league while South Dakota, in its second year of reclassification to NCAA Division I status, fell to 3-3 and 0-2. Quarterback Noah Shepard passed for 311 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 67 more yards to pace the Coyotes who rallied from a 17-3 deficit to force extra time.
UC Davis' win also snapped an eight-game road losing streak.
Greg Denham completed 27 of 41 passes for 380 yards but no yards more crucial than his 24-yard completion to Chris Carter on fourth-and-11 in overtime that put the Aggie on South Dakota's 2-yard line. Trombetta was flipped short of the goal-line on first down before rumbling through for the touchdown on the next play. Kelley's conversion ended the game.
South Dakota, which had the ball first in overtime, took a 23-17 lead when Shepard dove in from two yards out on fourth down to cap a six-play drive. However, Sam Sawyer's extra point was blocked by defensive tackle Jacob Maxson, giving the Aggie an opportunity to win in the first extra period.
"The way we fought back, I'm really proud of them," said Aggie coach Bob Biggs. "It was just the way we won it. It's just guys that believe in each other. The guys just hung in there and made plays when we needed to make plays and that's something we haven't done. To get the first win in nine games on the road, win a close game and get our first conference win, it's just all good.."
The Aggie led 10-3 at halftime after twice capitalizing inside South Dakota's red-zone. UC Davis took the opening drive and went 74 yards on 17 plays, getting a 19-yard field goal from Kelley after the Coyotes' defense stiffened near the goal-line by turning the Aggies away four times from inside the 5. Denham completed five passes for 60 yards on that drive, including a trio of 14-yard gains, two of them to receiver Sean Creadick.
Denham's four-yard pass to Bakari Grant on the Aggies' second drive made it 10-3, an advantage UC Davis held at intermission after Sawyer missed a 20-yard field goal - the first of two misses in the game - with four seconds to go.
A 23-yard pass from Denham to Grant early in the third quarter made it 17-3 but the Coyotes didn't go away. A 72-yard South Dakota drive, topped by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Shepard to Dustin Nowotny made it a one-touchdown game with 4:53 left in the third. The Coyotes then tied it late in the third quarter, turning a great punt to the 1-yard line by Colton Schmidt into a 99-yard drive that featured a 25-yard pass completion to London Landry and a 37-yard touchdown pass to Ben Oberle.
Back-to-back fumbles on long passing plays victimized both teams in the fourth quarter, setting up the Coyotes at their own 4. Shepard drove South Dakota to the Aggies' 14-yard line with 4:26 left but Sawyer was wide right from 31 yards. UC Davis tried to rally for a last-second win but was turned back at the South Dakota 38.
Trombetta rushed for 47 yards on 17 carries while Dean Rogers had four receptions for 103 yards, including a 60-yarder in the fourth that precipitated a fumble near the goal-line. Grant and Carter each had six catches for 93 and 89 yards, respectively.
Shepard completed 20 of 30 passes for his 311 yards and two scores while rushing 14 times to pick up his 67 on the ground. Tom Flanagan led the Coyotes' receivers with five grabs for 50 yards. Chris Ganious gained 74 rushing yards on 14 carries including a long of 32.å
Linebacker Mike Morales posted 12 tackles including a four-yard TFL to lead the Aggie defense, giving him 25 stops over his last two games. Linebacker Michael Healey had nine stops while Dozie Amajoyi finished with seven. Cornerback Kenneth Brown posted a pair of breakups. Jim Thompson and Shane Potter each had 11 tackles for South Dakota.
UC Davis returns to action next Saturday when it hosts Winston-Salem State at 6 p.m. in the annual Homecoming.