GREELEY, Colo. -
Tight end Taylor Sloat
hauled in a pair of TD passes from Randy Wright
in the first quarter, the Aggies led 24-0 at halftime, and the UC Davis football team went on to beat host Northern Colorado 34-18 in a Big Sky Conference football game on Saturday afternoon.
UC Davis upped its Big Sky record at the midpoint of the league season to 3-1, while pushing its overall mark to 3-5. The Bears dropped their seventh straight game and are 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the conference.
Wright tied a career-high with four touchdown passes while completing 27 of 37 passes for 310 yards. He set a school record for career passing attempts (1,171) and is now second in completions (679). His four scores move him into third on that career list with 51.
Running back Gabe Manzanares
rushed for 105 yards while Tom Hemmingsen
had six catches for 64 yards. Manzanares added three catches for 48 yards.
Safety Charles Boyett
had seven tackles and Aaryn Jones had six for an Aggie defense that shut down the Bears in the first half. Cornerback Shamawn Wright
had three pass
Wright and Sloat connected twice in the first quarter as UC Davis put together consecutive 74-yard scoring drives. Manzanares carried the ball three times on the opening one, carrying it 24 yards on third down to the Northern Colorado 24-yard line.
Wright and Sloat took over from there. Racing down the middle from the left side of the field, Sloat caught Wright's 24-yard pass in stride for his first touchdown of the season.
After holding the Bears to a three-and-out, UC Davis got the ball back and marched another 74 yards for a score. T.J. Wright had an 18-yard touchdown reception while Manzanares caught another for 15 after rushing for 14 yards earlier in the drive. Sloat then got open again, catching Wright's 16-yard score to make it 14-0 with 4:13 left in the quarter.
The Aggies dominated the first quarter overall, holding the ball for 12:14 of the period and outgaining Northern Colorado 185-13 while picking up 10 first downs and not allowing any.
A long 17-play, 79-yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes stalled at the 2-yard line and resulted in Brady Stuart's
19-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
The Bears had their best drive on their next possession, moving 57 yards on 10 plays but after nearly scoring, they were pushed back to the 24-yard line and were unable to convert on fourth down. Wright then marched the Aggies downfield, completing five passes for 55 yards before hitting Corey Galindo
on the right side for a 20-yard score with just 39 seconds left for a 24-0 lead.
Wright threw for 224 yards in the first half while UC Davis had 319 yards of offense. UNC was held to just 84 total yards in the first 30 minutes, including only 23 on the ground.
After trading punts with Northern Colorado to start the third quarter, the Aggie defense held the Bears on fourth down after they had covered 62 yards on seven plays to get to the UC Davis 36. The Aggies then went the other way for 64 yards, getting a 15-yard reception by Hemmingsen before T.J. King found himself on the receiving end of a 13-yard strike from Wright.
The Bears needed just two plays to go 75 yards on their next drive and score their first touchdown. Davis scampered through the right side and moved along the sideline for the score. A fourth-quarter 19-yard field goal by Jamie Falloon capped the scoring for UC Davis.
With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Northern Colorado scored their final points of the day on a six-yard touchdown from Seth Lobato, to Dimitri Stimphil, and a two-point conversion to pull within 16.
Once UC Davis recovered Northern Colorado's on-side kick, all the Aggies needed to do was waste the final 2:03 to capture another Big Sky victory.
UC Davis will remain on the road next Saturday, traveling to Montana State.