Defense Leads Aggies Past Western Oregon, 27-7

Jonathan Barsi returns this interception against Western Oregon on Saturday. <br> (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 
Jonathan Barsi returns this interception against Western Oregon on Saturday.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 

Oct. 11, 2003

Final Stats

DAVIS, Calif. - The UC Davis defense held visiting Western Oregon to just 97 yards in total offense on Saturday, while running back Antar Mahasin rushed for 72 yards and a pair of scores, as the Aggies beat the Wolves 27-7 in a collegiate football game played before 6,460 fans at Toomey Field.

UC Davis, which improved to 7-0 all-time against Western Oregon, improved to 3-2 with its second straight win. The Wolves lost for the fourth straight time, dropping to 2-4. The Aggies scored 24 points in the second quarter to erase an early 7-0 deficit.

"This game was all about our defense, the game ball goes to them," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs. "They kept us in the game.

"Offensively we couldn't find a rhythm but you have to give Western Oregon's defense credit," he added. "They played well and kept us in check. It was just one of those games, but our defense and special teams kept us in this game. The special teams played great and gave our offense good field position all night, but we didn't take advantage of it as much as we should have."

UC Davis rode the shoulders of its defense throughout the game, holding the Wolves to just seven net rushing yards on 22 attempts. Western Oregon didn't have much more success through the air as well, gaining just 90 passing yards.

That effort was enough to sustain the Aggies, who picked up 24 points in the second half to take a 24-7 lead into half. Mahasin, who had 163 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in last week's win against Sacramento State, scored from three yards and one yard in the second quarter this week as UC Davis grabbed a 14-7 lead.

Following a 39-yard field goal from Dusty Apocotos with 4:20 left before half, the Aggies capitalized on special teams when Dan Reece blocked Lucas Taroli's punt at the Wolves' 5-yard line. It was recovered by Scott Williams in the end zone for another touchdown as UC Davis blocked a kick for the fifth consecutive game.

 

 

"The blocked punt for a touchdown really proved to be a pivotal play in the game," said Biggs. "(Special teams) Coach (Greg) Chapla came up with some great schemes tonight and I think that was the fifth straight game with a blocked punt."

UC Davis forced Western Oregon into 12 punts on Saturday, including six straight possessions covering the second and third quarter that were 'three-and-outs.' The next two were ended by interceptions while four of the five remaining possession were also stopped after three downs.

Linebackers Kelly Valaau and Justin Patterson helped lead the Aggie defense, combining for 13 tackles. Cornerback Angelo Caffese also played outstanding defense, breaking up four passes and intercepting another. Jonathan Barsi also had an interception for the Aggies, who had nine passes defensed all evening.

Offensively, Mahasin led an 180-yard rushing attack for the Aggies, gaining 72 yards on 19 carries. Sophomore O.J. Swanigan had 37 while Nelson Doris came on late to picked up 27. Senior quarterback Jon Barragan, filling in for injured Ryan Flanigan, had 152 passing yards on 14-of-29 passes, while Doris, Kevin Freeman, Mo Mortazavi, Aaron Plunkett, Billy Zeier and Mahasin led a balance receiving effort with a pair of catches each.

Plunkett had seven kick returns in the game, including a 69-yarder in the first quarter.

Western Oregon scored its only touchdown in the first quarter, gaining the majority of its evening's yards on a 14-play, 78-yard drive that was capped on Brad Satran's five-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Thorson.Thorson had 92 passing yards, while Satran had 50 receiving yards on five catches. Defensive back Jason Haslebacher had 11 total tackles.

UC Davis returns to action next Saturday when it hosts Western Washington at 1 p.m. at Toomey Field in the Aggies' annual homecoming game.