Aggies Open 2010 Season At Cal Bears
Aug. 31, 2010
UC Davis (0-0)
Saturday, September 4, 2010
1 p.m. • Berkeley, Calif.
Memorial Stadium (71,799)
Comcast SportsNet California
KHTK (1140 AM) • KDVS (90.3 FM)
• News, notes and headline items to get things started... Many will be expanded later on in these notes.
• UC Davis begins its 92nd season of collegiate football this weekend by playing California, a team it has not faced in 71 years, last facing the Golden Bears in 1939.
• The game is the Aggies' first against a Pac-10 foe since they stunned Stanford 20-17 in 2005... They're 2-17 all-time against current members of the conference with the other victory coming against Arizona (W,9-7) in 1923.
• It won't be done with the Pac-10 after playing Cal with Arizona State looming on next year's schedule.
• UC Davis has played at least one NCAA Division I Football Bowl Championship Subdivision (FBS) team every year since 2005 and will play two this season with its Oct. 2 date at San Jose State... It's 1-6 in those matchups.
• Reigning Great West Conference Coach of the Year Bob Biggs is 8-9 in 17 previous season-openers, including a 3-5 mark on the road... His last victory on the road to start the year was 38-7 at Northern Colorado in 2006... He is 0-3 in three previous season--openers during the Aggies' brief Div. I era and is 4-6 since the turn of the century.
• The Aggies are embarking on their fourth season at the NCAA Division I level... Note: When UC Davis beat Stanford in 2005, it was officially an NCAA Div. II program but was playing a Div. I schedule as part of its reclassification.
• Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright makes his first career start on Saturday afternoon, the first freshman - either true freshman or redshirt freshman - to start an Aggie opener since Ryan Flanigan did so in 2000 against New Mexico Highlands (W, 55-7).
• Wright's opportunity came after former QB Greg Denham opted to skip his senior season in 2010 after compiling 6,435 passing yards and 46 touchdowns as a two-year starter for UC Davis.
• The Aggies also lost their two biggest receiving targets to graduation in WR Chris Carter and WR Bakari Grant... Carter set a school record with 213 career receptions, finishing with 2,434 yards (6th) and 15 touchdowns... Grant, who was in preseason camp this summer with the San Francisco 49ers, amassed 154 catches for 1,937 yards and 18 TD's (T-9th).
• On the defensive side of the ball, graduation also took All-America LB Mike Morales who had 261 career stops (3rd) and DE PATRICK MICHELIER who posted 20.0 TFL's (T6th)... Morales was the Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Year while Carter snagged Offensive Player of the Year accolades.
• The 2010 season marks the 40th anniversary of the start of the Aggies' amazing run of 37 straight winning seasons that set an NCAA Division II record (officially at 35 because of UC Davis' reclassification to Div. I)... With a 6-5 mark last year, the Aggies have posted winning campaigns in 38 of the past 40 seasons.
• UC Davis is picked to repeat as Great West Conference champions... The Aggies won the league with a 3-1 mark in 2009, their second conference title... They also won it in 2005.
• K Sean Kelley, who has 22 career field goals (T-6th) and 72 career PAT's (7th) is the Great West Conference Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year... He highlighted his sophomore campaign with a school-record tying 52-yard effort against Cal Poly.
• OT Mark Tos (6-6, 300) is a preseason All-America third-team selection by Phil Steele's College Football Preview... He started all 11 games last year, pushing his streak to 34 consecutive games.
• RB Joe Trombetta enters his senior campaign with 1,618 career rushing yards (9th) and is within striking distance of becoming just the seventh Aggie to eclipse 2,000.
• UC Davis returns six players who received All-Great West Conference recognition last year include first-teamers TE Dean Rogers and K Sean Kelley.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. CAL
• Cal holds an 8-0 lead in the all-time series between the programs that ran from 1932-39.
• The Bears opened with a 20-6 victory in 1932 and then posted six straight shutouts by a combined score of 261-0 before the Aggies climbed closer in 1939, 32-14.
• There is some `dispute' about the 1939 game with some accounts indicating UC Davis led 14-12 at the end of the agreed-upon two-hour time limit (Cal was also scheduled to play Pacific that same day)... However, the game continued on to its four-quarter length and Cal roared back for the win.
• The `investigative' story of the 1939 game was published the UC Davis Magazine (written by Dave Jones, an alum of Cal).
• Every game in the series has been played at Cal.
• Bob Biggs (UC Davis `73) is in his 18th season at the helm of the Aggies and his 32nd with the program overall.
• He owns a 130-66-1 (.662) overall record and is 59-45-0 (.567) against NCAA Div. I teams... Biggs is also 37-25-1 (.595) in the month of September and is 57-44 (.564) on the road.
• Biggs is the second-winningest coach in the history of the UC Davis program, trailing only Jim Sochor whose 156-41-5 record between 1970-88 led to his enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame.
• Four of Biggs' QB's have gone on to play professional football, including current Cincinnati QB J.T. O'SULLIVAN (1998-2001) and former San Jose SaberCats (AFL) starter MARK GRIEB (1994-96)... Others include KHARI JONES (1991-93) who had a standout career in the Canadian Football League and Kevin Daft (1995-98) who was a reserve on the Tennessee Titans when they went to the Super Bowl XXXIV... Daft is now an assistant coach at Cal.
• JEFF TEDFORD (Fresno State `83) is 67-35 (.657) and in his ninth year with the program... He is tied for the most wins in the modern era of the program.
• Under Tedford, Cal has posted a pair of 10-win seasons, including a 10-2 mark in 2004 and a 10-3 record in 2006... The Bears have also been to a school-record seven consecutive bowl games.
• He's also been on staffs at Oregon (1998-2001) and Fresno State (1992-97).
BRIEF CAL SCOUTING REPORT
• Cal returns 19 players that started at least five games last season and 53 letterwinners overall from the team that finished 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-10 (4th).
• The Bears played in the Poinsettia Bowl, losing 37-27 to Utah.
• Cal welcomes back eight starters on the offensive side of the ball including four linemen... The rushing attack was third in the Pac-10 last year (169.5 ypg), fourth in total offense (392.2 yp.g) and scoring (29.1 ppg) and was fifth in passing (222.7 ypg).
• QB KEVIN RILEY threw for 2,850 yards and 18 TD's in 2009, completing 209 of 382 passees... He ranks on the program's all-time leaders list for TD passes (8th) and 300-yard passing games (9th).
• RB SHANE VEREEN gained 952 yards and scored 12 touchdowns last year and leads this year's rushing attack... He averaged 5.2 yards per carry... He's coming off three 100-yard games while relieving RB JAHVID BEST (now in the NFL) who was injured.
• WR MARVIN JONES (43-651, 6 TDs) and TE ANTHONY MILLER (26-357) pace the receiving corps.
• Defensively, Cal was among the nation's leaders against the rush, allowing a stingy 112.0 ypg which ranked the unit 23rd nationally.
• A big part of that effort came from LB MIKE MOHAMED who was selected to the All-Pac-10 first team after leading the conference with 112 tackles.
• LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS (71 tackles) and DL CAMERON JORDAN (48 tackles) also provide solid experience... Jordan and Mohamed were especially tough at the line of scrimmage with Jordan compiling 9.5 TFL's and Mohamed picking up 8.0... Mohamed also had three picks.
• Cal allowed an average of 266.8 ypg (111th in FBS) through the air and lost three players from that secondary... CB SEAN CATTOUSE started the final six games and returns to his spot.
• P BRYAN ANGER has averaged 42.3 yards in his career and has four of the program's 12 longest punts including a monster 76-yarder against Stanford in 2008.
• K VINCENZO D'AMATO kicked seven field goals while K GIORGIO TAVECCHIO had eight while sharing duties last year.
AGGIE DEFENSE HAS A LOT OF "HART"
• UC Davis is the third (and final) stop for FS Danny Hart who redshirted at Sacramento State before moving on to Sierra College and then to the Aggies... He has found a home in the UC Davis secondary.
• Hart started every game last year, finishing second with 53 tackles (30 solo) while breaking up four passes and recovering a team-high three fumbles (returning one for 39 yards).
• His best two games came on the road, including an oustanding effort at No. 5 Boise State where he posted a career-best 14 tackles (8 solo)... Hart had another double-digit effort at the end of the month, finishing with 13 stops (8 solo) at Southern Utah.
• Three times he was voted the team's Defensive Player of the Week.
• Hart was named All-GWC honorable mention in 2009.
AGGIES GET MENTIONS IN NATIONAL POLLS
• UC Davis received votes in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls, unofficially ranking T-37th and 34th, respectively.
• The Aggies earned mention in at least one poll during 11 weeks last season with a high of an unofficial 28th (Sports Network) coming the week of the Causeway Classic.
• UC Davis owns an all-time record of 478-356-33 (.571) as it plays its 92nd season of football... The Aggies started playing in 1915 and have played continuously except for 1918, and 1943-45.
• A total of 15 head coaches, beginning with R.E. HARMON (1915-16) have directed the Aggies' program with College Football Hall of Fame Inductee JIM SOCHOR (1969-88) winning a program-best 156 games.
• Since opening Aggie Stadium in 2007, the Aggies have gone 11-5 including a 4-1 mark last season... They've got a current four-game winning streak in the facility.
GREAT WEST & CONFERENCE HISTORY
• The Aggies, one of three original members of the Great West Conference still competing in the league, are in their seventh year in the league, capturing their first title last year since they tied with Cal Poly in 2005.
• UC Davis is 15-11 (.577) all-time in the GWC, having also finished second in 2004 and 2008 in addition to its two titles.
• The Aggies are no strangers to conference success, having won outright or shared 20 consecutive titles from 1971-1990 in the Far Western Conference and Northern California Athletic Conference.
• UC Davis also tied for the title in its only year of membership in the American West Conference (1993).
• UC Davis has now won or shared 30 all-time league titles... Its first came in 1929 when it went 5-0 in the Far Western Conference.
TOS KEEPING CAMP ON THE LINE
• OT Mark Tos has been a mainstay on the offensive line for UC Davis, starting all 11 games at right tackle last year and pushing his consecutive starting streak to 34 consecutive games.
• That durability has helped earn him All-Great West Conference second-team accolades in 2008 and first-team honors last year... It's also helped put him on the national radar with Phil Steele's College Football Preview and The Sports Network each naming him to their preseason All-America third teams.
• The Sports Network also selected him as one of its Top 10 returning offensive lineman for 2010.
• Longevity on the line is not a stranger at UC Davis... C Tommy Hernandez, who was mini-camp last spring with the Minnesota Vikings, finished his career last year with 33 straight starts... G Jonathan Compas, currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, started all 40 of his career games before finishing in 2008, while G Mario Gonzalez ended his career at the same time with 34 straight starts.
OTHER STREAKS OF NOTE
• UC Davis saw its streak of 212 games in which it had scored a point come to an end at Fresno State (L,51-0) in last year's season-opener... The last shutout prior to that was a 19-0 defeat to Cal Poly in 1990... The streak nearly ended in 2001 when the Aggies faced North Dakota in the postseaso but UND took a safety late in the game, helping the Aggies' preserve the streak... North Dakota won 14-2.
• They have, however, not been shut out in 108 straight home games. (includes "home" games at Hughes Stadium during Causeway Classic).
• The Aggies are believed to have not had less than 200 yards in total offense since a 30-12 loss to Nevada in 1969, a span that now stands at 442 games... UC Davis had 130 in that game.
• UC Davis has two team captains this season in LB Dozie Amajoyi, WR Sean Creadick, TE Dean Rogers and FS Danny Hart.
AGGIE QUARTERBACK LEGACY HAS LONG LIST
• The Aggies' coaching tree is just one trademark of the football program... The other is its ability to turn out prolific quarterbacks.
• Despite being a Div. II program until 2007, UC Davis has had six signal-callers chosen in the NFL Draft since 1979: Mike Moroski (Falcons, `79), KEN O'BRIEN (Jets, `83), SCOTT BARRY (49ers, `85), JEFF BRIDEWELL (Cardinals, `91), Kevin Daft (Titans, `99) and J.T. O'SULLIVAN (Saints, `02).
• O'Sullivan has played with several teams and is currently a backup with Cincinnati, Moroski is in his 23rd year on the Aggies' coaching staff and Daft is an assistant coach at Cal.
• O'Brien was a member of the famed NFL QB class of `83 that also included Dan Marino, John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly and Tony Eason being drafted in the first round.
• In addition to the draftees, QB KHARI JONES (1991-93) enjoyed a prolific career in the Canadian Football League and was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in `01.
• QB MARK GRIEB (1994-96) was an ArenaBowl MVP and champion with the San Jose Sabercats and holds several league passing records.
• QB Jon Grant (2003-06) was a member of the Berlin Adler whose team won the 21st German Bowl in 2009... He was the Aggies' signal-caller when they drove for the winning touchdown against Stanford in 2005.
• Even current coach Bob Biggs played some professional football spending some time in the CFL and the WFL before joining the Aggies' staff.
AGGIE COACHING TREE INCLUDES BIG NAMES
• Besides becoming the all-time winningest coach at UC Davis, former mentor JIM SOCHOR has several former players and assistants who have gone to notable college or pro coaching careers, including:
• MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon, former head coach), who played for Sochor in 1969-72 and was a subsequent assistant coach.
• DAN HAWKINS (Colorado, head coach) played for UC Davis in 1981-82, was later an assistant with the Aggies and subsequently was head coach at Boise State .
• CHRIS PETERSEN (Boise State, head coach), who played for UC Davis in 1985-86 and was also an assistant... He has led Boise State to national prominence including an unbeaten year in 2006 and 2009.
• PAUL HACKETT (Oakland Raiders, asst. coach), who played from 1966-68, was an assistant at UC Davis as well a head coach at USC, Pittsburgh and an assistant with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
BIGGS PLANTING HIS OWN COACHING TREE
• Head coach Bob Biggs is also beginning to turn out coaches from his ranks, including current Cal assistant and former Aggie QB Kevin Daft (see below).... Also:
• KHARI JONES, a record-setting QB for UC Davis from 1991-93, is the quarterbacks coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League... Jones is fourth all-time on the program's total offense list (6,564 yards).
• Nathaniel Hackett, son of former NFL and college coach Paul Hackett, was a linebacker and exceptional long-snapper for UC Davis from 1999-2002 and is currently the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse.
BEARS, AGGIES SHARE MORE THAN JUST "UC"
• Cal and UC Davis may share a home in the University of California system but they also have a common thread this season in former Aggie QB Kevin Daft, currently the wide receivers coach for the Bears.
• Daft played for UC Davis from 1995-98 and finished his stellar career with 7,601 passing yards (3rd), 68 touchdowns (2nd) and a 139.4 passing rating... He completed 57.6 percent of his passes.
• He still ranks third all-time for total offense (7,696), third for passes attempted (982) and seventh for interception percentage (3.05%).
• Daft, a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the most outsanding player in Division II, went on to the NFL where he was a backup on the Tennessee Titans' Super Bowl team in 1999... He is a member of the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame.
• Daft is in his seventh season with Cal having also coached its quarterbacks during his coaching career there.
40-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF STREAK START
• The UC Davis football program has been defined by many outstanding attributes including prolific quarterbacks, stingy run defenses and stability in its coaching ranks.
• However, for most of the past two decades, it became synonymous with its streak of consecutive winning seasons that reached 37 before being snapped in 2007.
• It was started in 1970 during former head coach JIM SOCHOR's second season when he went 6-4... It then continued and continued and continued until reaching an NCAA Division II record of 33 straight seasons.
• The streak continued through the UC Davis' reclassification period from (2003-06) before being snapped with a 5-6 mark in 2007.
• A 5-7 record followed in 2008 but the ship was righted last year with a 6-5 record, giving UC Davis 38 winning seasons in its last 40.
• Before being ended three seasons ago, UC Davis' run was the longest active of any non-NCAA Division III program.
• The streak was marked by 20 straight league titles and 19 trips to the NCAA Division Playoffs.
AGGIES HOPE THEY HAVE THE "WRIGHT" STUFF
• Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright's start against Cal marks the first time a freshman has opened the season behind center for UC Davis since QB Ryan Flanigan did so in 2000... No other freshman for at least the last 40 years is believed to have started a season opener.
• Flanigan was filling in one game for QB J.T. O'SULLIVAN and did so admirably, completing 14 of 22 passes for 293 and four touchdowns, earning honorable mention for D2Football.com's National Offensive Player of the Week award.
• Wright redshirted last season but did travel to some road games as an emergency backup.
• He enjoyed a stellar prep career at Cardinal Newman HS in Santa Rosa where he threw for 2,702 yards and 30 touchdowns with just two interceptions in 2008... He also ran for 368 yards and eight more scores.
• Wright helped Cardinal Newman advance to the California Div. III Bowl Championship game.
• He comes from a good quarterbacking family... His brother, Kyle, was a backup at UTEP before graduating last season.
HEYWORTH PROVIDES SOLID BACKUP
• Depth at quarterback is always a luxury for a head coach and Bob Biggs enjoys a solid one in sophomore Austin Heyworth.
• Heyworth, who battled QB Randy Wright for the starting job during the preseason, played in three games last year but none bigger than Portland State when he came off the bench for injured QB Greg Denham to complete 6 of 7 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
• His performance rallied the Aggies from a 28-17 deficit to a 34-31 win and earned him Great West Conference Player of the Week honors.
• Heyworth's strong arm was evident in high school when he had a 7-1 record and six saves as a relief pitcher in addition to his exploits on the gridiron.
PASSING GAME LOOKS TO REGAIN STRENGTH
• The Aggies not only lost a two-year starter with the departure of QB Greg Denham, they also lost major cogs in the receiving end of the game with the graduation of seniors WR Chris Carter and WR Bakari Grant.
• In a long list of outstanding Aggie receivers through the years, Carter etched his name as the best in terms of receptions... He broke WR TONY KAYS' (2003-06) mark of 207 career grabs, surpassing him in the final game last year against Sacramento State.
• Carter finished his career with 213 catches while placing himself on the all-time yards list (6th) with 2,434... He was named the Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Year after also setting a school record with 18 catches against Montana early in the season.
• Grant, who signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers last spring but was recently released, was a big play threat, catching 154 passes for 1,937 yards and 18 career TD's (T-9th)... His "Hail Mary" snag of Denham's last-play toss against Northern Colorado in 2008 is regarded as one of the most exciting plays in program history.
• But after those two, the Aggies do return four of the next five top receivers including WR Sean Creadick who had 39 catches for 466 yards and a team-best tying five touchdowns last year... Both his catches and yards ranked third... He highlighted his year with two touchdowns against Boise State.
• RB Joe Trombetta (30-206, 1 TD), TE Dean Rogers (30-329, 2 TD's) and RB Josh Reese (10-101) have also been effective catching the ball.
• Trombetta has 88 career catches and needs just 25 to surpass SHOLA ADEYEMO (112, 1987-90) as the top receiving back in school history.
BENJAMIN, MAXSON ANCHOR DEFENSIVE LINE
• UC Davis allowed just 126.6 yards per game on the ground last year, ranking 38th among NCAA Div. I FCS teams.
• Two big reasons for that stinginess come from the trenches with DT Jacob Maxson (6--2, 280, Jr.) and DT Andrew Benjamin (6-1, 270, So.).
• Not only did they do an effective job opening up lanes for the linebackers to make stops, but they were strong making the plays themselves.
• Maxson posted 36 tackles (19 solo) including 7.5 TFls for 35 yards and 3.5 sacks for 27 yards... Benjamin had 23 tackles, finishing with 3.5 TFL's.
• Maxson earned All-GWC honorable mention recognition with his defensive line-leading stops but finished strong with 24 of his 36 tackles coming over the final five games... He earned GWC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after blocking an extra point in overtime against South Dakota, preserving the Aggies' 24-23 win.
• Benjamin got his first TFL in his first Aggie game (at Fresno State) and then had two other games with at five tackles each.
RUNNING BACK IS A RUNNING PACK
• A quick glance at the Aggies' depth chart at running back looks longer than "War and Peace"... That's because no less than five players occupy the "two-deep" spot.
• Marquis Nicolis and Josh Reese share starting duties on the depth chart with Joe Trombetta, Brandon Tucker and Corbin Cutshaw listed as backups.
• The committee approach will give UC Davis head coach Bob Biggs lots of choices and lots of versatility.
• Nicolis played sparingly last season (8 carries, 34 yards) but enjoyed a good spring... The hard-running Reese was second on the team with 375 rushing yards while adding 11 receptions.
• Trombetta, whose 90-yard TD run in his first game against Western Washington in 2007 electrified the crowd, has 1,618 career rushing yards and 670 more on the receiving end... Injuries slowed him in 2008 but he still managed 547 yards.
• Tucker, an art studio major who organized the "Art of Athlete" exhibit last year returns after missing 2009 because of injury while Cutshaw is another versatile back who has 21 career grabs and a 100-yard game (Iona, `08) under his belt.
KELLEY ALREADY ENJOYING PROLIFIC CAREER
• Junior K Sean Kelley has already entrenched his name among the elite UC Davis kickers, even after just two seasons.
• Through his freshman and sophomore years, he has made 22 field goals (T-6th), 72 PAT's (7th) and has in the top 10 for both field goal (28) and PAT (74) attempts.
• His 12 field goals last year rank T-5th on the season chart while his 42 PAT's (he was a perfect 42 of 42 as a freshman) are seventh.
• Kelly was an All-Great West Conference first-team selection last year and a second-team pick as a freshman... He is 72 of 74 on PAT's and 22 of 28 overall with field goals.
• He's only seven field goals behind former NFL kicker ROLF BENIRSCHKE for fifth all-time.
• Just as impressive as his accuracy is his distance... His 52-yarder against Cal Poly last year tied a school record while his 48-yarder at Boise State helped him go 4-for-4 from the 40-49 yard range... He had three FG's against Western Oregon, including a 46-yarder.
SCHMIDT CALMS DOWN PUNTING GAME
• UC Davis' punting woes in 2008 resulted in a 33.4 average and five kicks being blocked... Getting that area of the special teams moving in the right direction was put to `09 freshman punter Colton Schmidt -- and he responded in a big way.
• Schmidt, a true freshman, averaged 39.1 yards on 52 kicks, put 19 inside the 20 and had four go at least 50 yards including a career-best 67-yarder against Winston-Salem State that eventually settled at the 1.
• When the Aggies faced Montana, he pinned it inside its 10 four times, helping him win Great West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES FOR UC DAVIS
• UC Davis is defending Great West Conference champion and that helped the league's head coaches to favor it to win it again in 2010... The Aggies received three first-pace votes and 23 points to out-distance Cal Poly which had one first-place vote and 18 points... Southern Utah garnered the remaining vote and had 14 points while South Dakota (11) and North Dakota (9) were picked fourth and fifth, respectively.
• OT Mark Tos was named to third-team preseason All-America squads by both Phil Steele's College Football Preview and the Sports Network.
• Phil Steele's honored several Aggies on its preseason All-GWC team: TE Dean Rogers, G Sean Davies, DE Eric Sobotka and K Sean Kelley were on the first team.... WR Sean Creadick, RB Joe Trombetta, G Ray Wilburn, DT Andrew Benjamin, DT Jacob Maxson, LB Dozie Amajoyi, FS Danny Hart and P Colton Schmidt received second-team honors.
• Kelley was selected the GWC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Week.