UC Davis (1-0)
San Jose State (0-1)
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012
5 p.m. San Jose, Calif.
Spartan Stadium (30,456)
KHTK (1140 AM)
UC Davis game notes | San Jose State game notes | Big Sky weekly release
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UC Davis plays its first road game, and the first of three straight from Aggie Stadium, when it faces NCAA Div. I FBS San Jose State for the fourth time in the past six seasons. The three consecutive road games are the program's longest since three straight in the 2010 season, and tied for second-longest since 2006 to the five in a row they played (hitting every timezone in the continental U.S.) at the start of that season. The Spartans hold a 2-1 advantage in the previous matchups this decade with the Aggies posting a 14-13 upset in the most recent game in 2010. Prior to the series renewal in 2007, the teams had not played since 1934, marking the end of a seven-game series that was first played in 1922. UC Davis' 41-3 win against Azusa Pacific last week ended a five-game losing streak for season-openers, but the last four in that string were on the road... It was the Aggies' first season-opening win at the Div. I FCS level. An interesting sidenote to this week's game features DT Anthony Kaspar lined up against his brother, Spartans OT NICHOLAS KASPAR... The two have not faced each other in a game. UC Davis is looking to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2004, and regardless of the outcome, has snapped a streak of four consecutive seasons starting 0-2. The Aggies are playing an FBS opponent for the eighth consecutive season, posting a 2-7 mark during the span. It's early, but UC Davis' opening performance put it second nationally in net punting (48.7 avg.) and T-7th in scoring defense (3.0)... It's early, sure, but it's still nice. Similarily, WR Anthony Soto is ranked No. 1 in punt returns after averaging 34.5 yards on a pair of kicks last week... He had a long of 48 yards... Redshirt freshman K Brady Stuart is T-5th thanks to field goals of 23 and 37 yards in the first half. The Aggie defense forced four three-and-outs to start the game, stifled the Cougars into eight punts, and allowed just two drives longer than 40 yards. UC Davis is in its first year in the Big Sky Conference, one of four new members to the league (Cal Poly, Southern Utah, North Dakota) that were all part of the Great West Conference... The Mustangs and Aggies are football-only members.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SAN JOSE STATE
The Spartans and Aggies are tied 4-4-2 in their series which first kicked off during the Harding Administration in 1922. UC Davis didn't allow a point to San Jose State over the first four games, outscoring the Spartans 74-0, but also being held without a point during a scoreless tie in 1930. The teams stopped the series in 1934 after seven games, resuming in 2007 when SJSU posted a 34-14 win. Despite their difference in classification (FBS, FCS), only four points have separated the teams in their past two games... The Spartans needed a last-second touchdown to win 13-10 in 2009 while the Aggies rallied from 13-0 at halftime to win 14-13 in 2010. RB Nick Aprile and WR Tom Hemmingsen scored TD's in the third quarter of the latter matchup - QB Randy Wright hit Hemmingsen from four yards - to help key that win. UC Davis rushed for just 37 yards in that game but Wright threw for 223 yards... WR Anthony Soto had four catches for 58 yards.
Bob Biggs (UC Davis `73) is in his 20th season at the helm of the Aggies and his 35th with the program overall. He owns a 141-78-1 (.643) overall record and is 64-53-0 (.547) against NCAA Div. I (FBS, FCS) teams... Biggs is also 39-31-1 (.557) in the month of September and is 62-51-0 (.549) 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 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 with the Aggies. MIKE MacINTYRE (Georgia Tech `89) is 6-20 and in his third year at San Jose State... His mark with the Spartans is also his career mark as a head coach. He brings NFL experience with the New York Jets (2007) and Dallas Cowboys (2003-06), as well as collegiate experience at Duke, Ole Miss, Georgia, Davidson, Tennessee-Martin and Temple. MacIntyre played collegiately for former Yellow Jackets coach BOBBY ROSS as a free safety and punt returner after beginning his college career with two seasons at Vanderbilt.
BRIEF SAN JOSE STATE SCOUTING REPORT
The Spartans enter the week after a heartbreaking 20-17 loss at Stanford last Friday, a game which they trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and 17-3 at halftime before rallying to tie it up with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter... A short field goal by the Cardinal early in the fourth proved to be the game-winner. San Jose State outgained Stanford (288-280) with most of that coming through the air where it held a 216-125 advantage. The Spartans averaged just 2.7 yards on 27 rushing attempts, picking up 32 yards in six carries from RB BLAKE JURICH and 30 yards on 11 attempts from RB DE'LEON ESKRIDGE. QB DAVID FALES was busy throwing the ball, completing 24 of 35 passes for 216 yards and a TD, but was sacked three times and picked off once. WR NOEL GRIGSBY led the receiving corps with seven grabs for 92 yards and a 21-yard TD reception. Defensively, LB KEITH SMITH had a game-high 13 tackles, including six solo, while LB VINCE BUHAGIAR, LB DEREK MUAAVA and LB TRAVIS JOHNSON each had eight total tackles. CB DAMON OGBURN, JR. had a nice night with seven tackles and two forced fumbles... P HARRISON WAID was also impressive, averaging 43.5 yards on six punts with a long of 49. The Spartans were picked to finish third by both the media and coaches in the respective Western Athletic Conference preseason polls.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM AZUSA PACIFIC GAME
UC Davis scored on a 67-yard scoring drive to start the game, the first time its opened a season with a TD since doing so against New Hampshire in 2005. The Aggies rushed for 176 yards, just the second time since the start of last season that it surpassed 150 rushing yards and the fifth time since then it's been in triple-digits... Seven different running backs had carries in the game. WR Anthony Soto's 48-yard punt return was the program's longest since WR Jesse Oliva went 85 yards at Weber State on 9/18/04. Eleven different players caught passes, none of them grabbing more than three. UC Davis scored on five of its first six drives (3 TD's, 2 FG) with all but one of the scoring drives consuming less than three minutes. The Aggies had an average starting position in the first half of their own 49-yard line... Conversely, Azusa Pacific started an average of its own 21 for the entire game. UC Davis didn't yield a sack for the first time since beating Cal Poly 23-10 on 11/9/2009.
KASPAR VS. KASPAR IN THE TRENCHES
Aggie DT Anthony Kaspar and his brother G NICHOLAS KASPAR of San Jose State will have the unique opportunity of going head-to-head during Saturday's game. It's the first time they've ever faced each other in a competitive game although, Anthony said, their parents were accustomed to breaking up one-on-one basketball games in the front yard that got a little too physical. Both played for Dana Hills HS in Southern California. Their parents have made t-shirts that say "SPAGGIES" - a combination of "Spartans" and "Aggies". SCHMIDT
ELEVATES PUNTING GAME
The year before P Colton Schmidt arrived at UC Davis, the Aggies struggled mightily in the punting department, averaging just 33.4 yards per kick and have five of them blocked. Since then, Schmidt has moved among the elite ranks of all-time punters at UC Davis... He's averaged 40.1 yards per kick over his first three years, including a school-record 42.3 yards last season. His true freshman year was just as impressive when he averaged 39.1 yards. Schmidt entered the year having pinned 56 kicks inside the 20, last year had 13 punts go at least 50 yards, booted a 67-yarder as a freshman and a year later set a school record with a 78-yard punt at North Dakota. The school record for career average is well within reach... It's held by Chris Shibel (40.72 from 2001-04). He's off to a good start this season, averaging 46.3 yards on three punts against Azusa Pacific, booting a long of 56 yards, and putting all three inside the 20.
EXPERIENCE ON THE LINE
UC Davis returns four-fifths of its starting offensive line from last season with all four returners starting every game they played... T Ian Joseph, OG Sean Davies and OG Jimmy Kunkel each started all 11 games in the season while C Ray Wilburn got the starting nod in all 10 games he played.
TOP TACKLERS BACK FOR THE AGGIES
Five of the top six tacklers from last year's team will take their spots on the defensive side of the ball, including a pair of linebackers who combined for 136 tackles in 2011. LB Jordan Glass and LB Byron Gruendl each had 68 stops a year ago and combined for 14.0 TFL's including two sacks... Glass tied for team-high honors with two interceptions and also forced and recovered a fumble. FS Kevyn Lewis, who had 49 stops including 34 solo, was third last season while LB Reece Ludwig (42 tackles, 4.5 TFL's) and FT Andrew Benjamin (40 tackles, 5.0 TFL's) bring more experience. Additionally, the Aggies had eight interceptions in 2011 and players that totaled six of them are back... Glass, CB Jonathan Perkins and DT Khalid Jones each had two picks.
WRIGHT STARTS FOR THIRD YEAR
QB Randy Wright will open the season under center for the third season after making his debut in 2010 as a redshirt freshman against none other than Cal. In his tenure, he's thrown for 4,848 yards and 32 toucdowns and has thrown just 15 intereceptions in 703 attempts. He highlighted his 2011 season with a career-high 320 yards against UTSA. Wright is 10th all-time for attempts (703), is already 10th for completions (406) and needs 35 to move up a spot on that list, and needs 539 yards to crack the top 10 career yards chart. He is the Aggies' second straight three-year starter since taking over for QB Greg Denham (2007-09).
UC Davis owns an all-time record of 489--368-33 (.568) as it plays its 94th 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 17-10 (.629) including a 3-2 mark last season. UC Davis played at Toomey Field from 1949-2006 before moving to its current home.
The Aggies are debuting in their fifth conference since 1925 and their first new conference since 2004... They joined the Great West Conference in `04 and were eight-year members of the league along with Cal Poly and Southern Utah who now join them in the Big Sky Conference. UC Davis was 19-15 (.559)during its Great West run, capturing league titles in 2005 and 2009. 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). The Aggies have won or shared 30 all-time league titles... Its first came in 1929 when it went 5-0 in the Far Western Conference. UC Davis' conference affiliation: Far Western Conference (1925-81), NCAC (1982-92), American West (1993) and Great West (2004-2011). The Aggies are 77-56-2 (.578) all-time against current members of the Big Sky, a big chunk of that coming against Sacramento State (41-18)... UC Davis also owns winning records against Cal Poly (18-16-2), Southern Utah (10-6) and North Dakota (1-1).
UC Davis has four team captains this season in DE Bobby Erskine, FS Kevyn Lewis, C Ray Wilburn and OG Sean Davies. 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, former 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 at the NCAA Div. I FBS level. 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 in the NFL.
UC DAVIS TABBED 11TH, 12TH IN POLL
The Aggies were voted by the Big Sky head coaches to finish 12th this during voting conducted over the summer... They were slightly better by the media, picked to finish 11th. Montana State, Eastern Washington, Montana, Portland State and Cal Poly were voted to the top five spots in both polls. UC Davis did not receive mention in either of the major national polls by The Sports Network (media/SID's) or the FCS Coaches.
SCHEDULE BRINGS CHALLENGES
Top to bottom, UC Davis could be facing its toughest schedule ever when considering the Big Sky's placement among the power leagues in the FCS. Eastern Washington won the 2010 NCAA Div. I FCS title in 2010 and Montana has been a longtime force in the division. The Aggies, however, will also face an FBS team (San Jose State) for the seventh straight year... They're facing the Spartans for the fourth time in that span and are 1-2 in their previous matchups. Altogther, UC Davis is 2-7 (.222) versus FBS competition since 2005 with the other win besides San Jose State coming at Stanford in 2005 (20-17)... Other FBS foes included Boise State (2009), Fresno State (2009), Hawai'i (2011), Arizona State (2011) and TCU (2006). UC Davis is 70-53-4 (.576) vs. the 2012 schedule.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES FOR UC DAVIS
C Ray Wilburn, an All-Great West Conference first-team honoree last year, was named to The Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America third team in July. He was joined on the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference team by DE Bobby Erskine, FS Kevyn Lewis and P Colton Schmidt... UC Davis' four selections tied Eastern Washington for the second-highest total in the league.
NEW COACHES WELCOMED TO STAFF
Aggie coach Bob Biggs welcomed three new coaches to his staff for the upcoming season including one he used to coach. Kevin Daft, a standout QB for the Aggies in the mid-1990's who was drafted by the Tennesee Titans in 1999, returns to his alma mater to as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach... Daft was most recently an assistant at Cal. WILL COFE joins as a coach on the defensive line... The former Arizona State player and Sun Devils alum came to the Aggies from Pacific University in Oregon where he assisted former Aggie assistant Keith Buckley restart that Div. III program. Damaro Wheeler spent the last two years at Div. II powerhouse Central Washington as a graduate assistant and will oversee the Aggie cornerbacks this season... He also brings collegiate experience from Southern Oregon (2007-09).