DAVIS, Calif. - Before its home finale vs. Southern Utah, UC Davis football honored its 14-member graduating class in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. Once action began, it did not take junior organizational studies major Keelan Doss long to set a new all-time record for the most receptions in a single season.
By collecting his third pass of the game early in the first quarter, the junior wide receiver bumped Tony Mays, and his 93 catches (which took place throughout the 2005 season) from the No. 1 spot.
At halftime, 10-year NFL veteran Ken O’Brien became the inaugural member of the Aggie Pride Wall; numerous members of the 1982 team, the first to compete for a National Championship, attended Saturday’s game to celebrate this new honor with their teammate.
But it was early strikes from the Thunderbirds, who entered Aggie Stadium ranked No. 19 in the NCAA Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the national media poll, and 14 points scored in the third quarter that helped them preserve their place atop the Big Sky standings with a 47-27 victory.
UC Davis will enter next weekend’s Causeway Classic game with a 5-5 overall and 3-4 Big Sky record. Southern Utah will enter its regular season finale with records of 8-1 and 6-1. The Aggies still have one more opportunity to post a winning record for the first time since the 2010 season with the necessary result in next weekend’s 2 p.m. Causeway Classic at Sacramento State.
Prior to halftime, Wesley Preece caught his career-high seventh touchdown, which capped an 18-play drive that covered 98 yards over a 4 minute and 28 timespan.
Facing third-and-9 deep in Aggie territory, sophomore economics major Jake Maier brought his team near midfield thanks to a 17-yard run — the first of four big plays that led to the Aggies’ inaugural points of the night.
Talking place shortly after Maier’s dash were completions to redshirt freshman Christian Skeptaris (undeclared) for 15 yards, junior economics major Namane Modise for 10 and Preece for another 15, which ended up flipping the field within a brief amount of time and led to a dangerous opportunity for the Aggies.
It was then when Modise ran for 14 yards, which set up Maier’s four-yard TD pass to Preece.
After halftime, it was Modise and Preece who combined efforts to set up junior biochemistry and molecular biology major C.J. Spencer’s team-high sixth rushing touchdown of the season.
Following Jay Green’s touchdown, which pushed the Thunderbirds’ lead to 34-7, Modise returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to Southern Utah’s 41-yard line. Within the next 83 seconds, Maier connected with Preece for 21 yards, followed by a 14-yard snare from from senior political science major Justin Williams and a run from senior viticulture & enology graduate student Derek Baljeu.
With the Aggies now at SUU’s four-yard-line, Spencer scored UC Davis’ second touchdown by weaving his way through the Thunderbirds’ defensive line for another six Aggie points.
Modise recorded his first receiving touchdown of the season on his team’s following possession, which pulled UC Davis within striking distance early in the fourth quarter, until the Thunderbirds pulled away by matching Modise’s score with a TD of their own.
Skeptaris also collected his first career touchdown on a three-yard pass in the fourth quarter from economics major Brock Dale for UC Davis' final points of the evening.