Aggies Fall 27-24 To Coyotes In Great West Opener

Dwight Smith had a career 56 receiving yards against the Coyotes

Oct. 22, 2011

Final Stats

VERMILLION, S.D. -  UC Davis committed five turnovers for the game and did not score in the second half until late in the fourth quarter, as the Aggies began their Great West schedule with a 27-24 loss to No. 19 South Dakota Saturday at the DakotaDome.

The score was tied at halftime after UC Davis was held scoreless in the first quarter and exploded for 17 points in the second. Both defenses settled in in the second half, as the Coyotes scored 10 unanswered points before holding on for the win.

South Dakota improved to 5-3 on the season with a 2-0 mark in Great West competition, while the Aggies dropped to 2-5 and 0-1 in conference play.

The Coyotes were able to take advantage of several big plays, including a 72-yard kickoff return, a 67-yard touchdown reception and a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown. South Dakota managed to force three fumbles, all of which came in the second half.

Adam Broders had a team-high 14 tackles for South Dakota in addition to two tackles for losses and two interceptions. One of Broders' picks was taken back for the 66-yard touchdown return. UC Davis also played well defensively despite the big plays, with Tommy Grillo registering five tackles, 1.0 sacks and 3 tackles for losses.

Randy Wright completed 22 of 37 passing attempts for 256 yards, while tossing one touchdown and two interceptions. Tom Hemmingsen, Corey Galindo and Anthony Soto each caught five passes for a combined 178 receiving yards while Soto managed two touchdowns. Dwight Smith also chipped in with two catches for a career high 52 yards. Austin Edmonson led the Aggies with 80 yards on 14 carries.

Dante Warren threw for 185 yards and a touchdown, with Jeremy Blount added four catches, 88 yards and a touchdown reception for the Coyotes. Marcus Sims led South Dakota on the ground with 49 yards on 14 carries.

"We were a little big sloppy with the ball," said head coach Bob Biggs. "We had turnovers that really hurt and inopportune penalties once we got into their territory. A lot of it was our own undoing. That's not to take anything away from South Dakota but a lot of it was our own undoing offensively."

After a combined four straight punts to start the game, South Dakota reached the scoreboard first with a Dante Warren four-yard rushing touchdown. Will Powell helped set up the score with a 42-yard reception on the drive.

Wright threw his third interception of the season at the 4:17 mark in the first quarter, giving the Coyotes the ball at the UC Davis 42-yard line. South Dakota advanced into the red zone but was held by the Aggie defense. On a Coyotes field goal attempt, the snap got past the kicker to give UC Davis possession.

The Aggies took advantage at the start of the second quarter, driving 62 yards on eight plays en route to a 23-yard field goal for Sean Kelly. Leading up to the score, UC Davis had consecutive 25-yard and 26-yard receptions by Galindo and Smith, respectively.

South Dakota responded with a quick field goal after a 72-yard kick return for Jim Thompson. The Aggie defense held again however, before Kevin Robb was good on a 33-yard attempt to make the score 10-3 with 11:04 on the clock in the second quarter.

UC Davis had an impressive drive in the following possession, traveling the length of the field and going 79 yards on nine plays. Colton Silveria capped off the drive with a 7-yard rushing touchdown to tie the score at 10-10.

South Dakota followed with another score, as Jeremy Blount broke free for a 67-yard touchdown reception.

In an eventful second quarter, there was a score in each of the first five combined drives. UC Davis took its turn with another touchdown to tie the score again at 17-17 with 2:13 remaining in the half. On a broken play, Wright scrambled to find Soto for a 10-yard score.

In the final possession of the half, Robb missed on a 45-yard field goal attempt just before the intermission, keeping the score knotted at 17 all.

South Dakota was the first to score in the second half, as Adam Broders turned an interception into a 66-yard return for a touchdown. The Coyotes would later add a 45-yard field goal from Robb to make the score 27-17 with 4:43 left to play.

UC Davis struggled to get going on offense, before scoring its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard reception for Soto. The Aggies had a final opportunity for an onside kick recovery but came up just short.

"We have to fight. We have to keep fighting," continued Biggs. "You never know in this conference. We have one loss in conference now but we're going to keep fighting because that's what we're about."

UC Davis will stay on the road next weekend, traveling to play Southern Utah on Oct. 29.