Oct. 9, 2010
DAVIS, Calif. - Randy Wright threw for 260 yards and a touchdown, Sean Creadick caught seven passes for 100 yards and the defense turned away South Dakota in the final seconds, as UC Davis beat the Coyotes 17-13 in a Great West Conference matchup before 10,352 homecoming fans on Saturday night at Aggie Stadium.
UC Davis won its second straight game and third in the past four, improving to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference. South Dakota, which earlier this season beat the Big Ten's Minnesota and has been receiving votes in the major polls, fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Great West.
Running back Chris Ganious rushed for 142 yards to lead South Dakota. Linebacker Dozie Amajoyi had nine tackles and forced a fumble to pace the UC Davis defense while linebacker Byron Gruendl and defensive tackle Jacob Maxson each recorded sacks. Jonathan Perkins broke up three passes.
UC Davis took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Wright to tight end Dean Rogers.
South Dakota took over on its own 32 with just under two minutes remaining and trailing 17-13. Quarterback Dante Warren found receiver Tom Flanagan for a 13-yard gain and then later rushed for 16 more as USD moved into UC Davis territory. The Coyotes eventually moved to the Aggies' 27 but a penalty and two incomplete passes - one of them broken up by cornerback Dre Allen - set up 4th-and-9.
Perkins, however, stopped the threat there, breaking up Warren's pass intended for Flanagan and giving the Aggies the ball for the final 10 seconds.
"Our defense played great," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs. "I thought that they just played great. To hold (USD) to seven completions in 26 attempts, with a quarterback that scrambles and runs around as much as he does, is remarkable. There was a lot of coverage pressure and I thought our young freshmen corners played awesome."
South Dakota got on the scoreboard first, capitalizing on UC Davis' first turnover in three games, a fumble at UC Davis' 45 on the game's opening possession. Ganious ran for 24 yards to the 21-yard line with Kevin Robb eventually adding a 37-yard field goal just over two minutes into the game and a quick 3-0 lead.
The Aggies responded later in the quarter, moving 64 yards in six plays, including completions of 29 and 14 yards on back-to-back plays to Creadick that put UC Davis in business at the 1. Nick Aprile ran it in from there - his fourth rushing touchdown of the year - and the Aggies went in front 7-3.
The teams exchanged 28-yard field goals the rest of the half; Robb's coming late in the first quarter and the Aggies' Sean Kelley converting with a single tick left in the half - as UC Davis took a 10-6 halftime lead.
South Dakota put together its longest drive of the game, a 10-play, 90-yard effort, to start the second half, highlighted by 45 rushing yards from Warren and 29 from Ganious. Warren's 27-yard run put the ball at UC Davis' four before his four-yard jaunt helped push the Coyotes into a 13-10 lead.
South Dakota had the ball early in the fourth quarter and was driving to midfield but Warren fumbled at the USD 39 and the Aggies' Danny Hart recovered. Wright then found Rogers in the left side of the end zone on the ensuing play for a touchdown, returning the lead to UC Davis, 17-13.
""It was a pretty exciting moment," said Wright. "The defense got a huge turnover and we actually got to throw deep. Then (Dean) made a heck of a play for a touchdown."
The game's next four drives ended with punts, leading to South Dakota's final drive.
Wright completed 25 of 34 passes for his 260 yards while Creadick reached 100 receiving yards for the second time this season. Anthony Soto had five catches for 47 yards. Amajoyi had six solo tackles among his game-high tying nine while Hart finished with eight stops and a breakup. UC Davis broke up six passes, including the three from Perkins.
Biggs credited a raucous crowd for helping UC Davis on Saturday night.
"The students were awesome," Biggs said. "I really do think that in the second half, the students were standing most of the time and the noise level was outstanding. I'm just so appreciative and I know our players are too. I just felt the support was awesome tonight."
Ganious carried the ball 22 times for 142 yards while Warren finished with 88 for South Dakota. Chris Frierson had nine tackles including a sack while linebacker Adam Broders also had nine stops and a half-sack.
UC Davis finished with 294 total yards including 260 through the air while South Dakota had 238 of its 327 total yards on the ground.
The Aggies have a bye next weekend, returning to action on Sept. 23 against South Alabama at Aggie Stadium.