Oct. 27, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis receiver Anthony Soto caught two touchdowns in the first half but Portland State outscored the Aggies by 28 points in the second as the Vikings beat UC Davis 49-21 in a Big Sky Conference football game played before 7,826 fans at Aggie Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies lost their second straight game, falling to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big Sky. Portland State, which was led by 139 rushing yards from D.J. Adams and 250 passing yards from Kieran McDonagh, improved to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference. The Vikings rushed for 280 yards. Linebacker Ian Sluss had a pair of interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown, recovered two fumbles, broke up two passes and had six tackles.
Defensive back Aaryn Jones led the Aggie defense with 10 tackles while linebacker Steven Pitts had eight. Linebacker Jordan Glass had seven plus a 0.5 TFL. Quarterback Randy Wright threw for 264 yards and two scores but was intercepted twice. Dalton Turay's 36 yards led an Aggie rushing game that went over 100 yards for the fifth straight week.
Soto caught a five-yard pass from Wright in the first quarter and a 15-yarder just before halftime as UC Davis and Portland State went into intermission tied 14-14. But McDonagh ran in from six yards early in the third and Adams capped a 98-yard drive later in the quarter as the Vikings rattled off 21 straight points to take a 35-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
Marquis Nicolis had a 20-yard touchdown run near the midway point of the fourth quarter but Portland State added two more scores to build the advantage down the stretch.
""I thought they were much more physical than we were," Aggie coach Bob Biggs said. "They leaned on us pretty good physically and we just didn't have an answer. We couldn't get a stop. Give them credit, but we just didn't play with the same physical spirited effort that we have been playing with. We just weren't flying around the field. They took advantage of it and they outplayed us."
The first half was tightly played with both teams approaching 200 yards in total offense. UC Davis didn't lead at any point but battled back from a pair of seven-point deficits to tie the game. The Vikings got on the scoreboard first, taking their first drive 85 yards in five plays for a 7-0 lead. The Aggies responded, however, on their next possession with Soto catching a pair of passes for 21 yards before connecting with Wright for a five-yard score late in the quarter.
Soto's second touchdown, coming on a drive that featured a 16-yard reception by Corey Galindo, tied the game heading into halftime. Wright threw for 153 yards in the first half, completing 16 of 26 passes, but UC Davis was held to just 22 yards on 15 rushes. The Vikings, meanwhile, had 113 yards on the ground and only 79 through the air with McDonagh gaining 51 rushing yards.
UC Davis punted on its first two drives of the second half and Wright was intercepted by Sluss as the Aggies were stifled going into the fourth quarter. The Aggies turned the tide, however, with a 77-yard drive that was capped by Nicolis' 20-yard touchdown up the left side. Tim Benton caught a 21-yard pass, Dalton Turay hauled one in for 12 yards and Nicolis had 29 total rushing yards for the Aggies who took just 2 minutes, 30 seconds to get thescore.
Sluss made it 42-21 with 5:32 remaining, picking off Wright and going 31 yards for the score. Ben Bowen capped the Vikings' scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes to go.
" We haven't been a team who has had a lot of big and explosive plays throughout the course of the season so that means you're on a razor's edge sometimes and can't overcome small mistakes. And we had some small mistakes that hurt us," Biggs said. "I think that probably was as big an issue for stopping us offensively as not putting points on the board. In every area we need to improve. I don't see an area that we don't need to improve on and now it's time to take these next two weeks and really focus. "
UC Davis finished with 412 total yards, including 308 through the air with Soto leading the receivers with 67 yards on seven catches. Punter Colton Schmidt averaged 44.8 yards on six punts, including launching a 68-yarder and putting four inside the 20.
Portland State had 530 total yards with McDonagh throwing for 250. He was intercepted by defensive end Walter Earnest.
UC Davis will have its only bye week of the season next week before returning to action on Nov. 10 when it travels to face Eastern Washington.