UC Davis returns to the road for the second of three straight games away from Aggie Stadium, traveling to face South Dakota State for the third time in Brookings, S.D., and the fourth time in that state overall... The Aggies are 2-3 all-time in South Dakota.
The Aggies' current string of road matchups is its longest since opening the 2006 season with five consecutive road games.
UC Davis and its opponents are an identical 7 for 8 (.875) in the red-zone, with the Aggies scoring 40 points in those trips and the opposition tallying 41... Most of UC Davis' production came against Azusa Pacific in the opener while San Jose State returned the favor last week.
The Aggies have had the first possession in each game so far and have scored touchdowns both times.
P Colton Schmidt has averaged 45.3 yards on nine punts so far, has a long of 62 yards against San Jose State and has booted five inside the 20-yard line...He's helped the Aggies net an average of 44.4 yards, ranking them third nationally... Schmidt is currently second for gross cc6average.
The Aggies' return game is performing well early on with its punt return average (16.25) ranking 14th and the kick return average (26.78) ranked 17th... Individually, WR Anthony Soto is seventh in punt returns (16.25) while CB Jonathan Perkins (25.20) is 27th.
UC Davis' defense is also notable, sitting 18th among NCAA Div. I FCS teams with an average of 7.5 TFL's per game.
Thirteen different players have caught passes from QB Randy Wright with none grabbing more than four... Wright, meanwhile, is ranked 24th for passing efficiency (137.71).
UC Davis has only been penalized seven times in two games for a total of 40 yards... The Aggies are ranked T-5th in the FCS.
The Aggies are in their first year in the Big Sky Conference... It is their fifth conference affiliation since 1925 and comes after eight seasons in the Great West Conference... Former GWC members Cal Poly, North Dakota and Southern Utah are also in the Big Sky... Ironically, UC Davis' first Big Sky game will come against Cal Poly.
UC Davis head coach Bob Biggs is in his 20th and final season with the Aggies... The former UC Davis quarterback has been a member of the coaching staff at his alma mater for 35 seasons.
WE ARE "UC DAVIS"
Over the years, we've seen our school name referred to many incorrect ways... The most common? "Cal-Davis"... The most unusual? "UC David"... The most confusing? "Cal St. Davis"... In written form, we've seen several variations with hyphens ("UC-Davis") and periods ("U.C. Davis")... We are anti-hyphen and anti-period when it comes to our name.
In short, the correct spelling and reference for the institution is "UC Davis"... Please avoid "UCD" abbreviation.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
The Jackrabbits hold a 4-2 series lead on the Aggies with all the games played in a decade span from 1997-2007.
South Dakota State has won the past three meetings by a total of 10 points... The most recent game was a 28-21 Jackrabbits victory in 2007 at Aggie Stadium.
UC Davis is 1-1 against SDSU at Brookings, S.D., however, is actually 1-2 in the state itself since the 2005 matchup was played at neutral site in Sioux Falls.
A 52-0 Aggie win at Toomey Field in 2004 is the largest UC Davis win.
Saturday's game will mark the fourth September meeting between the programs... The Aggies have won two.
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 141-79-1 (.643) overall record and is 64-54-0 (.542) against NCAA Div. I (FBS, FCS) teams... Biggs is also 39-32-1 (.549) in the month of September and is 62-52-0 (.544) 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.
JOHN STIEGELMEIER (SDSU `79) is in his 16th year as head coach of the Jackrabbits and owns a 94-73 overall record and has eight winning seasons over the past decade.
He was at the helm of SDSU's team in 2009 when they earned its first playoff bid in 30 years, advancing to the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
Stiegelmeier led the Jackrabbits to the 2007 Great West Conference Championship - SDSU's first league title in 44 years - and was named the GWC Coach of the Year.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE SCOUTING REPORT
The Jackrabbits are 1-1 after battling Kansas tough (L,17-31) in their opener on the road, and then nearly matching that score but doing so on the winning side at Southeastern Louisiana (W,31-14) last weekend.
A big part of the Jackrabbits' success has been RB ZACH ZENNER, who leads the FCS in rushing (230.5)... Zenner, whose previous rushing best was 97 yards at Youngstown State last year, had 278 yards and a TD against SELA after gaining 186 at Kansas... He's lost just eight yards in 57 rushing attempts.
Zenner has helped SDSU average 254.5 rushing yards per game, ranking the Jackrabbits 12th in the FCS... They're totaling 425.0 ypg overall, placing them 24th.
QB AUSTIN SUMNER has thrown just 49 times for 309 yards and three touchdowns and has been picked off five times... He has an efficiency rating of 97.67.
No other Jackrabbit has rushed for more than 32 yards... WR TYREL KOOL leads the receivers with nine catches for 85 yards... Despite its reliance on running the ball, SDSU has more TD's through the air (3) than on the ground (2).
LB ROSS SHAFRATH has 24 tackles, including 15 solo, to lead a defense that is T-38th nationally against the run (126.0), 49th versus the pass (179.5) and 36th overall (305.50)... SDSU is allowing 22.5 ppg, ranking them 46th overall.
DL ANTHONY PEETE has a pair of sacks and 5.0 TFL's in the early going while SDSU has picked up five sacks overall.
K JUSTIN SYROVATKA has already booted four field goals (4 of 5) but all have been between 22 and 26 yards.
KR TREVOR TIEFENTHALER is ranked No. 6 in the FCS for kick returns (33.0 avg.) and has a long of 46 yards.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM SAN JOSE STATE GAME
The Spartans scored 35 points in a little more than a 15-minute span covering the second and third quarters... They had touchdowns on five consecutive drives, six over a seven-drive span and had a FG on the other.
The scoring run came after UC Davis had forced thre punts, got the ball on downs, and recovered a fumble over San Jose State's first five drives.
San Jose State's six sacks were the most for an opponent since Southern Utah posted seven on Oct. 23, 2004 in a 19-15 win by the Thunderbirds at Cedar City, Utah... Arizona State (2011), Cal Poly (2010) and Northeastern (2008) each had five.
CB ALEX HINES' 51-yard kickoff return was the team's longest since RB Corbin Cutshaw scampered 53 yards against Portland State on Sept. 10, 2010.
The loss dropped the Aggies to 2-8 against NCAA Div. I FBS teams since 2005.
UC Davis had just two penalties for 11 total yards.
AGGIES HOPE TO IMPROVE RUNNING GAME
Balance is the key to life and the Aggies are hoping for similar results on the field when it comes to the run and the pass.
UC Davis has been long known as a passing prowess but looks to improve a running game that last season averaged just 95.4 yards per game (105th in FCS).
The Aggies have averaged less than 100 yards per game twice in the past three seasons, have not averaged more than 117.4 yards in the past eight, and haven't broken 2,000 rushing yards in a season since 2002 when they totaled 2,143 yards (178.6 avg.)
So far this season they're averaging 117.0 yards per game, a total helped by 176 against Azusa Pacific in the opener.
UC DAVIS GOES OVER 40 POINTS
The Aggies' 41 points against Azusa Pacific on Aug. 30 was their highest total since beating Winston-Salem State 45-14 on Oct. 17, 2009.
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 45.3 yards on nine punts so far, booting a long of 62 yards at San Jose State and 56 yards versus Azusa Pacific... Five of his kicks have landed inside the 20.
Schmidt is currently ranked 10th among FCS punters for career average (40.35).
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 return to 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 SURPASSES 5,000 CAREER YARDS
QB Randy Wright threw for 194 yards at San Jose State last weekend, pushing his career total past the 5,000-yard mark... He nows 5,042 total yards and needs 345 to move into the Aggies' career top 10.
Wright's 420 completions (10th) and 726 attempts (10th) are already in the top 10 while his 33 touchdowns are just four away from earning a spot on that list.
He's currently ranked 10th among active FCS quarterbacks for passing yards per game (210.1), 11th for career yards, 13th for completions and 16th for TD's.
UC Davis owns an all-time record of 489--369-33 (.567) 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).
KASPAR TIMES TWO
DT Anthony Kaspar had the unique opportunity to go head-to-head with his younger brother, NICHOLAS, an offensive guard for San Jose State, when the teams met on Sept. 8.
The two were lined up across from each other most of the game as they faced each other in an official game for the first times in their careers.
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.
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).