UC Davis game notes.
Portland State game notes
Portland State (0-1)
UC Davis (0-1)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
6 p.m. Davis, Calif.
Aggie Stadium (10,849)
News, notes and headline items to get things started... Many will be expanded later on in these notes.
UC Davis opens its third season playing in Aggie Stadium by playing Portland State for the second time in three years on Aggie turf... The teams last met in Davis in 2008 with UC Davis posting a 38-24 win.
The Aggies are 11-5 all-time at Aggie Stadium including a 4-1 mark last year... In fact, since going 2-3 in their inaugural season, they've posted a 9-2 mark over the past two.
UC Davis is 11-6 in home-openers under 18th-year head coach Bob Biggs including a 1-2 mark at Aggie Stadium... The Vikings were the first home opponent for the Aggies in 2008 as well (Game 3 of the season).
Biggs is also coaching his 199th career game with No. 200 coming next week at Weber State... He has 130 career wins... He is 22-13 (.629) all-time against current members of the Big Sky while the Aggie program is 49-31 (.613).
Portland State is the first of three - and first of two straight - Big Sky opponents on the schedule... Weber State looms next week with rival Sacramento State closing the regular season...
The Aggies are 12-8 against the league since the start of 2004 - when they started playing Big Sky teams more regularly - and have beaten at least one BSC school each year since... They were a perfect 3-0 in 2006.
The Aggies are trying to avoid their third consecutive 0-2 start... The last two were punctuated with NCAA Div. I FBS teams (Fresno State in `09; San Jose State in `08) in the openers... They've started with at least one win in their first two games 11 times in Biggs' previous 17 seasons.
UC Davis and Portland State played an exciting game last season in the Pacific Northwest... The Vikings led 28-17 in the third quarter but backup QB Austin Heyworth - filling in for injured Greg Denham - rallied the Aggies with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help UC Davis post a 34-31 victory.
Heyworth was named Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his heroics.
UC Davis is coming off a 52-3 loss at Cal last Saturday, the first meeting between the schools on the gridiron since 1939... K Sean Kelley accounted for the Aggies' lone points with a 43-yard FG in the third quarter... He is 5 for 5 in his career from at least 40 yards.
The 58,040 fans at Memorial Stadium was by far the largest ever for an Aggie game... The previous top two: (at Fresno State, 37,267; and at Boise State, 32,497) both ocurred last year.
Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright, the first Aggie frosh to start an opener since 2000, completed his first career pass - a 15-yarder to All-Great West Conference TE Dean Rogers - on the game's first play... He finished 8 of 22 for 57 yards overall.
Despite its loss, the Aggies received votes in both The Sports Network/Fathead.com (media, SID's) and FCS Coaches polls this week.
UC Davis is in its fourth season at the NCAA Division I FCS level and owns a 16-19 (.457) overall record... It is 6-5 (.545) during Great West play during the same period.
The Aggies' projected starting lineup for this week's game features just three seniors on offense and five on defense... Seven projected starters meanwhile - four on offense and three on defense - are either redshirt freshmen or sophomores.
Halftime will feature recognition to former head coach Jim Sochor, the architect for the program's signature 37-year streak of consecutive winning seasons... Sochor (156-41-5) coached from 1970-88 and is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame after leading the program to national prominence.... The start of the streak is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010.
UC Davis is looking for its 39th winning season in its past 41.
Saturday's game is "A Salute to Heroes" with recognition being extended to law enforcement, the military and others.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. PORTLAND STATE
The Vikings lead the all-time series 6-4 but UC Davis has won the last three games in the series.
The teams played twice in the 1970's and seven times in 30 years overall with Portland State claiming victory in the last six games of that period.
The Aggies have outscored Portland State an average of 32.7-24.0 ppg during its recent winning streak.
UC Davis is 2-1 at home against the Vikings, including a 1-0 mark at Aggie Stadium; a 38-24 win in 2008.
The programs have met once in the playoffs, a 42-28 Portland State home victory in the 1992 Div. II Playoffs.
Besides QB Austin Heyworth's heroics last year (2 TD's in 4th qtr), UC Davis rushed for 143 yards and had 484 total yards... It also had a season-high 29 first downs and just 34 penalty yards, its second-lowest of the year.
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 130-67-1 (.659) overall record and is 59-46-0 (.562) against NCAA Div. I teams... Biggs is also 37-26-1 (.586) in the month of September and is 71-22-1 (.761) on campus (Toomey Field, Aggie Stadium).
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.
NIGEL BURTON (Washington `99) is 0-1 and in just his first year as head coach for Portland State.
The Sacramento native coached the defensive backs for the Vikings from 2001-02 and has also been on staffs at South Florida (2000), Oregon State (2003-07) and Nevada (2008-09) - the latter as defensive coordinator - before returning to Portland State.
He is the 13th head coach in the history of Vikings football.
BRIEF PORTLAND STATE SCOUTING REPORT
The Vikings returns 14 starters, including six on offensive and five on defense, from last year's team that finished 2-9 under former head coach JERRY GLANVILLE.
Portland State is coming off a 54-9 loss at Pac-10 Arizona State on Saturday night, a game which it trailed 30-6 at halftime and 44-9 entering the fourth quarter.
K ZACH BROWN booted three field goals (42, 53, and 47 yds) on his way to earning Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week honors... The 53-yarder is tied for the second-longest in school history.
Portland State managed 263 yards of offense against the Sun Devils, including 146 through the air from QB CONNOR KAVANAUGH who was 12 for 23 with a pick... WR RAY FRY had five catches for 93 yards while JUSTIN MONAHAN and CORY McCAFFREY each had three catches.
QB TYGUE HOWLAND completed 6 of 14 passes but was intercepted twice.
Kavanaugh is the team's leading returning rusher, having gained 390 yards last year while averaging 5.4 yards a carry... He earned the starting QB duties over both Howland and DREW HUBEL, the latter who threw for 1,976 yards and 9 TD's last year but is coming off off-season surgery.
RB WILLIE GRIFFIN led a rushing attack on Saturday that garnered 54 yards on 29 carries.
Defensively, FS MANOA LATU had a game-high tying seven tackles (3 solo) while also breaking up a pair of passes... LB JOEL SISLER had the team's lone interception while CB DeSHAWN SHEAD had a sack for a three-yard loss.
Portland State allowed 553 total yards, 311 of them via the pass.
LB RYAN RAU returns after picking up 72 tackles last year including 10 TFL's and 4.0 sacks... Shead had three interceptions in 2009, returning them a total of 49 yards.
DE TRAVIS BECKLEY had 3.0 sacks last season and 6.0 TFL's overall.
Brown has enjoyed a prolific career kicking for Portland State, having already made 21 of 28 field goal tries... He made a school-record 18 in 2009.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE CAL GAME
The Bears gained more first downs (26-4) than UC Davis including a 16-1 advantage in the first half... The Aggies' lone first down before halftime came on their first play, a 15-yard pass from QB Randy Wright to TE Dean Rogers.
The Aggies were also outgained 332-31 in the first half and had just 81 total yards for the game... It is believed to be the first time since a 30-12 loss to Nevada in 1969 that UC Davis has been held below 200 yards (442 games).
Cal outgained UC Davis 517-81 overall.
The Aggies punted on their first seven possessions, including six straight three-and-outs after getting the intial first down on the game's opening drive.
K Sean Kelley's 43-yard FG capped the team's best drive, a 7-play, 22-yard drive that was its longest of the day... Kelley is perfect in his career (5 for 5) from 40 yards and beyond.
P Colton Schmidt was kept busy, punting 10 times and averaging 40.6 yards... Included was a long of 53 yards and another boot that went 50.
UC Davis held the ball for just 21:34 during the game and was 2 for 13 on third down... Cal was 8 of 15 on third and had an average starting position of its own 41.
RB Josh Reese led Aggie receivers with three catches.
LB Dozie Amajoyi (11) and FS Danny Hart (10) each had double-digit tackling efforts with Hart adding a pass breakup.
The offensive line surrendered just two sacks.
The 49-point margin of defeat is tied for fourth on the program's all-time list.
UC DAVIS VERSUS THE BIG SKY
The Aggies have played at least three Big Sky opponents each season since 2004 and are 11-8 during that span including a 4-3 record at home.
The year-by-year records:
2004: 2-1 (1-0 at home)
2005: 1-2 (0-1 at home)
2006: 3-0 (1-0 at home)
2007: 2-1 (all on the road)
2008: 2-2 (2-1 at home)
2009: 1-2 (0-1 at home)
AGGIES VERSUS THE FBS
UC Davis has played at least one Division I FBS program each year since the start of the 2005 season and has posted a 1-7 record during that time.
The notable "1" on that ledger was a stunning 20-17 at Pac-10 Stanford, a milestone win which celebrates its five-year anniversary on Sept. 17 (a week from Friday).
UC Davis played two FBS teams last year in Western Athletic Conference members Fresno State and Boise State (which finished unbeaten), has two scheduled this year with Cal (L,3-52) and San Jose State, and has two more on the schedule in 2011 with Arizona State and Hawaii.
A look at the year-by-year recent trend of FBS opponents:
2005: at Stanford (W,20-17)
2006: at TCU (L,13-46)
2007: at San Jose State (L,14-34)
2008: at San Jose State (L,10-13)
2009: at Fresno State (L,0-51)
at Boise State (L,16-34)
2010: at Cal (L,2-53)
at San Jose State (Oct. 2)
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 and is entering his third year with the team.
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.
He's picked up where he's left off, posting 10 tackles at Cal for his third career-double-digit game.
AGGIES LOOKING TO STRIKE A BALANCE
UC Davis has struggled recently to find a potent rushing attack with just two games last year surpassing 100 yards (143 at Portland State, 244 at Southern Utah).
Five times it was held to fewer than 63 yards in `09 and just once (101 yds., RB Josh Reese vs. So. Utah) did the Aggies have a 100-yard rusher.
The Aggies rushed for 1,409 yards in 2008 but haven't had more than 2,000 since gaining 2,143 in 2002... Their 364.7 ypg of total offense last year was their lowest since averaging 355.3 in 1991.
UC Davis owns an all-time record of 478-.357-33 (.570) 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.
TOS ANCHORS OFFENSIVE 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 35 consecutive games with his start in this year's opener.
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 34 straight starts... G Jonathan Compas, most recently 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.
AGGIES HOPE THEY HAVE THE "WRIGHT" STUFF
Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright's start against Cal marked 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.
He didn't have an easy inaugural assignment, facing the second-most successful Pac-10 program over the past decade... He was 8 of 22 for 57 yards but showed mobility by escaping several would-be tacklers to be sacked just once.
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.
He comes from a good quarterbacking family... His brother, Kyle, was a backup at UTEP before graduating last season.
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.
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.
KELLEY ENTERS THIRD YEAR WITH SUCCESS
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 23 field goals (6th), 72 PAT's (7th) and is 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 23 of 29 overall with field goals.
He's only six 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... Kelley hasn't missed in five tries from at least 40.
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.
He booted the ball 10 times at Cal for an average of 40.6 yards... Two (53, 50) went at least 50 yards.
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.
Kelley was selected the GWC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Week.
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).
A long streak came to an end last week at Cal after the Aggies were held to just 81 total yards... It's believed to be the first time they had less than 200 yards in total offense since a 30-12 loss to Nevada in 1969, a streak that ends at 442 games... UC Davis had 130 in that game.
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 first 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.
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 was most recently a backup with Cincinnati before being released this past weekend, 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 unbeaten years 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... 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.