Nov. 1, 2003
MORAGA, Calif. - Running back Antar Mahasin had 200 all-purpose yards Saturday afternoon, including 135 rushing yards, as UC Davis won its fourth straight game with a 45-14 victory over Saint Mary's in a collegiate football game played at Saint Mary's Stadium.
The victory improved the Aggies' record to 5-2, moving them to within one game of their NCAA Division II-record 34th consecutive winning season. Saint Mary's dropped to 1-8. Saturday's win also guaranteed UC Davis a "non-losing," season, its Division II-record 34th straight, breaking a tie with West Chester (Penn.), which also previously held the Division II record for most consecutive winning seasons at 31 before the Aggies broke that in 2001.
Senior quarterback Ryan Flanigan came off the bench to throw for 204 yards and a pair of scores, helping to ignite UC Davis which broke a 0-0 tie with 21 points in the second quarter. Flanigan, who missed the last two games with injury, completed 14 of 18 passes with one interception, hitting receivers Tony Kays and Billy Zeier on touchdown passes of nine and three yards, respectively.
Mahasin, who had 97 yards rushing in the first half, scored on a 28-yard run in the second quarter and then ran in from two yards in the third. UC Davis finished with 527 yards in total offense, eclipsing the 500-yard barrier for the second straight game. Mahasin rushed for at least 100 yards for the second time this season.
Free safety Ejiro Evero blocked a punt in the second quarter which was recovered by cornerback Angelo Caffese in the end zone, extending the Aggies' streak of at least one blocked kick in every game this season.
UC Davis' defense limited Saint Mary's to just 21 yards of total offense in the first half, including minus-3 yards rushing and held Saint Mary's to just 212 yards overall. The Aggies had seven tackles-for-losses in the game, including a sack by safety Jonathan Barsi, and picked off three passes. Senior linebacker Kelly Valaau had a game-high 13 total tackles.
Quarterback Cordell Webb passed for 157 yards and a touchdown to lead the Gaels, while safety Weston Borba returned a Ryan Flanigan interception 54 yards for his fifth career touchdown.
The Gaels battled the Aggies to a scoreless draw in the first quarter. Starting Aggie quarterback Jon Barragan - who helped lead UC Davis to a come-from-behind win against Sacramento State on Oct. 4 and then a pair of wins - completed three passes for 38 yards before Flanigan took over in the second quarter. Flanigan's first play was a 22-yard pass completion to Jason Yaklich, starting a UC Davis drive that culminated with a Mahasin's 28-yard touchdown midway through the period.
"I was excited to get back on the field," said Flanigan. "I wanted to get back in the flow and move the ball."
Flanigan led UC Davis on a 6-play, 55-yard drive on the Aggies' next possession, including rushing for a 27-yard gain himself that took the ball down to Saint Mary's 4. Following a penalty, UC Davis went up 14-0 on Kays' touchdown grab. Evero - who blocked a field goal attempt by Western Washington two weeks ago - added his second block in as many games when on Ben Antongiovanni's punt attempt just before half. The blocked punt bounced toward the goal line where Caffese pulled it in for another score.
Zeier's touchdown grab in the third made it 28-0 before Borba picked off Flanigan and weaved his way through the Aggies' offense for his 54-yard touchdown return. Mahasin scored his second touchdown with 11:55 left in the game, Dusty Apocotos added a 30-yard field goal with 5:32 to go and backup running back Bryan Harrison scored on a 34-yard touchdown run late in the game to round out UC Davis' scoring.
Tom Steiner had a 30-yard touchdown reception from Webb in the fourth quarter for the Gaels' only other score. The Aggies did have four turnovers in the game for the second consecutive game.
"I don't think we played particularly sharp (offensively) today," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs. "I think a lot of the credit has to go to the defense. I think they gave us some opportunities. But we did make some plays though."
The Aggies finished with 261 rushing yards, holding the Gaels to just 55.
"UC Davis is a good football program," said Gaels coach Vincent White. "I think the bye week helped them. I think they made some adjustments to some of the things we were doing."
UC Davis looks for its 34th straight winning season needing just one win in its final three games. The first of the three contests, which will all be at home, is next Saturday at 1 p.m. against Cal Poly. Kickoff at Toomey Field is 1 p.m.
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