Oct. 31, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Wide receiver Tony Kays caught a 14-yard pass from quarterback Jon Grant with 13 seconds remaining on Saturday as UC Davis stunned No.5 Cal Poly 36-33 in a Great West Football Conference game played before a record crowd of 9,387 at Mustang Stadium.
The victory clinches UC Davis' 35th consecutive winning season, improving its overall record to 6-2 and its league mark to 3-1. Cal Poly lost its first game of the season, falling to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference.
Kay's touchdown grab in the waning seconds capped a furious drive by the Aggies which began on their own 47-yard line with 40 seconds remaining and no timeouts. A pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive put the ball at the Cal Poly 38 before a 24-yard pass to Kays down the middle gave the Aggies a first down at the 14 with 21 seconds remaining.
After Grant spiked the ball to kill the clock, Cal Poly called a timeout, setting up Grant's touchdown pass to a wide-open Kays in the end zone.
"I designed that (play) on the bus coming down here," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs. "I was watching on my laptop trying to figure out one or two more things (to run) in the red-zone."
Grant finished with a career-high 393 passing yards, completing 21 of 40 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Kays' final heroics capped 116 receiving yards on six catches, joining receiver Jesse Oliva with at least 100 yards. Oliva had 129 yards on four catches, highlighting his night with a 70-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter that gave UC Davis a 7-0 lead.
Quarterback Anthony Garnett threw for 377 yards and four scores to lead Cal Poly, completing 21 of 34 passes with an interception. Receiver Darrell Jones had 168 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven receptions while Jonah Russell caught five passes for 120 yards and a score. Jason Holmes caught a pair of touchdown passes for Cal Poly.
UC Davis, which led 21-7 at halftime, had to use the final drive to try and win the game after a prime opportunity for a go-ahead score slipped away with less than three minutes to go. The Aggies had the ball at the Cal Poly 6 after a long drive gave them a first-and-goal. But receiver Kevin Freeman was stripped of the ball at the 3 and it rolled in the endzone where it was recovered by the Mustangs' Aaron Williams.
UC Davis, however, kept Cal Poly from getting a first down, forcing the Mustangs to punt inside the final minute and setting up the Aggies' winning drive.
"It probably sounds corny but that was 'Aggie Pride," said Biggs of the final drive. "I mean, plain and simple, that was 'Aggie Pride'... Guys made plays. Guys just made plays. Unbelievable."
Cal Poly entered the game boasting a highly ranked defense that was allowing just 295.6 ypg. However, the Aggies finished with 477 yards of total offense, the most by a Mustang opponent this season.
Oliva's long touchdown grab highlighted a first half which also included a three-yard touchdown run by Nelson Doris with 2:48 left and a 10-yard scamper by Grant with 1:12 to go. UC Davis led 21-7 at the break, scoring more points in a half against Cal Poly than any other Mustang opponent this year.
However, Cal Poly rebounded in the second half behind a robust offense that netted 494 total yards. A seven-yard pass from Garnett to Holmes early in the third quarter brought the Mustangs to within seven, while Russell's 70-yard TD reception tied the game, 21-21, with 4:52 left in the third.
The long TD reception was the second of the night for Cal Poly, which also got a 79-yard TD pass from Garnett to Jones in the first quarter.
Tied entering the fourth quarter, Cal Poly took its first lead on a 42-yard field goal by Byungwoo Yoon. Doris plunged in from a yard out with 10:07 remaining as UC Davis regained the lead, 28-24, before a four-yard pass from Garnett to Holmes and a 23-yard field by Yoon over the next nearly five minutes gave the Mustangs a 33-28 lead.
"When you're on a roll like they (Cal Poly) are, you believe you're going to win," said Biggs. "They went in at halftime and fully probably believed they were going to win and they made some plays.
"They're a helluva a football team. They're not 7-1 for no reason."
Grant finished with a team-high 53 yards rushing. Defensive tackle Ryan Sharp had nine tackles for UC Davis as did end Pila Fatukala. Linebacker Benn Reece had eight tackles while Lewis Burkhart had an interception.
UC Davis returns to action on Nov. 13 with its final home game. The Aggies will battle North Dakota State at 1 p.m. in a game that could clinch at least a tie for the inaugural league title.