Aggies head to Wyoming for another FBS matchup

Sept. 13, 2016

Game 3
UC Davis (1-1) at Wyoming (1-1)

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016  1 p.m. (PDT)
War Memorial Stadium (29,181) • Laramie, Wyo.
Radio: KHTK (1140 AM) 
TV: None
Video: MW Network
Live stats:

Notes: UC Davis | WyomingBig Sky

• UC Davis returns to the road, facing its second FBS opponent this year and looking for its first win over an FBS team since beating San Jose State in 2010... It’s 2-15 vs. FBS teams since 2005.

• Both FBS teams on this year’s schedule are first-time opponents for the Aggies... UC Davis has never played a team from Wyoming.



• The Aggies will be trying to turn a road tide that has them 2-11 away from home since the start of the 2014 season.

• RB MANUSAMOA LUUGA’s 90-yard touchdown run last Saturday against Southern Oregon is the longest in either the FBS or FCS so far this season and is T-2nd on Aggies’ all-time list... His 5 TDs on the ground this season are also FCS-leading... Luuga’s long run also upped his carry average to a Big Sky-leading 6.9 yards while his 241 yards are second in the league.

• QB Ben Scott, with back-to-back 300-yard games, is ranked second nationally with a 342.0 avg... He’s also second in passing yards (684), fifth in total offense (336.0) and in the top 20 in four other categories... Scott’s thrown consecutive 300-yard games twice in his career after also doing so in 2014.

• The Aggies have benefitted from seven opponent turnovers, have just one themselves (int vs. Oregon) and are T-1st nationally in turnover margin (3.0 avg.)... They’re just one of 27 teams not to lose a fumble yet this year.

• UC Davis’ four interceptions – all coming against Southern Oregon – are one more than it had all of last season and are sixth-best in the FCS in 2016.

• Yes, it’s early, but through two games, the Aggies are averaging 157.5 ypg. on the ground which is significantly higher than the 121.8 they ground out in 2015... Their passing yards (347.0 pg) and total offense (504.5 ypg.) are ranked fourth and 10th, respectively, among all FCS teams.

• WR RAMON VARGAS’ 208 receiving yards against Southern Oregon are third-most in the FCS this year and marked the first 200-yard game for UC Davis since WR MICHAEL OLIVA set the school record (233) in 2001.

• The Aggies’ 80 points is their best showing in a season’s first two games since scoring 88 against South Dakota State (57) and Weber State (31) in 2004.

• UC Davis started two true freshmen against the Raiders last weekend... WR Jared Harrell  caught four passes for 24 yards while DT Bryce Rodgers helped stifle things in the trenches for the defense.

• The Aggies and Cowboys have never met in football nor has UC Davis played any college team from Wyoming.

• UC Davis, however, has played five games against Mountain West Conference teams (Nevada, 0-2; Hawai’i, 0-1; Colorado State, 0-1; TCU, 0-1)... The Aggies have also faced current MWC members San Jose State, Boise State and Fresno State when those schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference.

• QB Ben Scott completed 22 of 29 passes for a career-high 381 yards against Southern Oregon last weekend... It was the fourth 300-yard game of his career, his second in a row and the second time he’s done it in back-to-back games (vs. Montana State, Montana in ‘14).

• As noted, he ranks second in the FCS in passing yards (684), passing ypg. (342.0) and fifth in total offense (336.0 ypg)... He’s also 10th in yards per attempt (9.0), 11th in yards per completion (13.9), 16th in passing TDs (4) and 17th in passing efficiency (154.8)... Thanks to QB GAGE GUBRUD of Eastern Washington who is the FCS’s top thrower right now, Scott does not lead the Big Sky in most stats.

• His yards last weekend eclipsed the 379 he had against Montana State in his first career start in 2014 and are ranked T-21st on the all-time list.

• Scott’s 20.4 completions per game in his career ranks fifth among active FCS quarterbacks while his career passing efficiency (141.4) is 10th.

• Two games into his senior season, RB Manusamoa Luuga is off to his best start as an Aggie... With 241 rushing yards, he’s more than a third of the way to the career-best 613 yards he had all of last year.

• His 5 TDs – ranked first nationally – are just one shy of his 2015 total and more than half of the nine he had entering this season.

• Luuga is ranked seventh in the FCS for rushing yards, rushing ypg. (120.5) and all-purpose yards (175.0 pg.), and is 12th for yards per carry (6.7).

• He had his first career 100-yard game in last season’s finale against Sacramento State (24-117) but now has two after rushing for 145 on 13 carries last week.... Luuga (96 yds) was just shy at Oregon.

• Senior WR Ramon Vargas had 284 receiving yards last year but went a long way to reaching that last Saturday alone when he caught six passes for a career-best 208 yards.

• Included was a career-long 65-yard TD reception from Scott in the third quarter and then a 64-yard catch early in the fourth.

• Vargas’ 208 yards rank fourth all-time for a single game in Aggie history, just in front of former UC Davis tight end (and Oregon head coach) MIKE BELLOTTI (204 vs. Humbold State, ‘72).

• Vargas picked up his yardage on just six catches... His 34.7 avg. trails only CALVIN ELLISON’s 38.2 avg. (6-229) against Puget Sound in 1978 as best among 200-yard receivers.

• The Aggies benefitted from just 11 turnovers in 2015 (8 fum, 3 int.) and were -5 overall... Already, however, UC Davis has dramatically turned the tide by picking up seven turnovers.

• The Aggies grabbed three fumbles against Oregon, including two of them on special teams, and then added four interceptions against Southern Oregon.

• They ranked last in the FCS in interceptions last year but this year are No. 6 in the early going.

• UC Davis is T-1st in turnover margin (3.0 avg.) with just a single interception against Oregon on the miscue chart.

• The Aggies are just one of 27 teams not to lose a fumble yet this season. (knock on wood)

• The Aggies are making sure their younger players are in the mix from the start... A total off 11 players on the two-deep are seeing their first collegiate action, including two true freshmen who are first on the depth chart: WR Jared Harrell and DT BRYCE ROGERS.

• Additionally, a true freshman - Matt Blair - has taken on place-kicking duties for UC Davis, replacing graduated senior Brady Stuart who set a school record with 51 career field goals.

• Of the 45 offensive and defensive names on the depth chart, 20 are occupied by underclassmen.

• OL Christian Schneider made a home at right tackle over his first three seasons, including in 2013 as a true freshman... Since then, the 6-6, 315-pounder has started all but one game he’s played (31 of 32).

• This season, Schneider jumps to the opposite side to play left tackle, taking over for graduated senior Parker Smith, who was moved there last year to replace 2014 senior Ian Joseph - a four-year starter.

• P Colby Wadman had big shoes to fill when school-record holder Colton Schmidt finished in 2012... He is now the punter for the Buffalo Bills... But, Wadman has done just fine, thank you, and is on his way to also becoming one of the program’s all-time bests.

• Through three seasons, Wadman is averaging 40.2 yards per kid and ranks third all-time.

• Wadman averaged 40.6 yards last season, had a best of 61 yards, kicked 13 over 50 yards, had 22 of 57 total result in fair catches and landed 17 inside the 20.

• He punted eight times in the opener for a 43.2 avg. and last week put 4 of 6 kicks inside the 20.

• Wadman was named All-Big Sky honorable mention as a sophomore in 2014.

• OL Christian Schneider, RB Manusamoa Luuga, DT Inoke Raikadroka, LB Russell Reeder.

• UC Davis had four Aggies recognized by the Big Sky on its postseason honor roll... FB Derek Baljeu, KR Joshua Kelley and WR Chris Martin each received honorable mention.

• S Mitch Casas, FB Ethan Hicks, LS Grant Hilton and OL Christian Schneider each earned Big Sky All-Academic honors.

• UC Davis was selected 23th by the head coaches and 12th by the media in the Big Sky’s preseason polls released in July.

• Northern Arizona, which lost to UC Davis last season, was the pick by both the coaches and media to win the conference race this fall.

• No Aggies were selected to the 29-player Preseason All-Big Sky team.

• The Aggies posted an NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 981 to lead the Big Sky Conference for the fourth consecutive year... The distinction earned them an APR Award from the FCS Athletics Directors Association for the fourth straight year.

• UC Davis has increased its APR each year during the impressive run and owns the second-longest active streak of APR Awards. (Bryant University has won five straight).

• The APR measures student-athlete retention and eligibility and helps provide a real-time mark of classroom performance.

• The Aggies also had an NCAA graduation success rate of 83 percent in the most recent report, marking the second straight year they’ve led the Big Sky in that measurement as well... For the record, the entire UC Davis athletics program had a graduation rate of 88 percent... The program has led the Big West four straight years and seven of eight since reclassifying to NCAA Div. I in 2007-08.

RETURN OF Bob Foster
Bob Foster doesn’t need to look far to see his name at Aggie Stadium since it adorns the Bob Foster Team Center on the north end... It’s a fitting tribute to a defensive genius who was a longtime assistant coach under legendary coach JIM SOCHOR before continuing the program’s success during his four-year run as head coach (1989-92).

• Foster has retired and unretired several times since then, turning up on the coaching staffs at Oregon, Cal and Colorado... But, he’s returned to his alma mater in 2016 because he just can’t stay away from the sport he dearly loves.

• He was a consultant to the coaching staff during spring practices but is now back as a full-fledged assistant coach with the defense.

• Head coach Ron Gould turned out a bevy of outstanding running backs during his 16-year career as an assistant/associate head coach at Cal prior to joining UC Davis in 2012.

• His former players form a ‘who’s who’ of NFL standouts: Marshawn Lynch (Seattle), Shane Vereen (N.Y. Giants), Justin Forsett (Baltimore) and C.J. Anderson (Denver)... FB Will Ta’ufo’ou was most recently with Jacksonville... Retired RB Jahvid Best (Detroit) was another outstanding Cal player.

• Gould brought his expertise to UC Davis where he’s already turned out one of the Aggies’   all-time best with former RB GABE MANZANARES who gained 2,116 career yards, was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2014 and twice earned all-conference recognition in 2013-14.

• The last three Super Bowl winners have had a Gould-coached running back. (Lynch, Vereen, Anderson)

• JIM SOCHOR, the winningest coach (156 wins) in school history, helped spawn the careers of several notable current head coaches including CHRIS PETERSEN (Washington) and GARY PATTERSON (TCU) who were both on staff... Additionally, Petersen was a QB for UC Davis in the mid-1980s... Former coaches to move through the Aggies as players and/or coaches include MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon), NICK ALIOTTI (Oregon def. coord.) and PAUL HACKETT (NFL, college).

• Hackett’s son, Nathaniel, played for UC Davis from 1999-2002 before moving on to a successful coaching career as the offensive coordinator at Syracuse and the Buffalo Bills... He’s currently the QB coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

• UC Davis will be featured on ROOT SPORTS for the fifth consecutive year as part of the DirecTV regional network’s partnership with the Big Sky... In all, 10 league games will be showcased throughout the 2016 season.

• The Aggies will visit Eastern Washington (Oct. 1) and Montana State (Nov. 12) as part of the package... This is the first year since joining the Big Sky that UC Davis will not host a game that appears on ROOT Sports.

• The Aggies request media properly refer to the school’s name when referencing the university... The correct name is “UC Davis”... Please note the refreshing lack of hyphens and periods... “California-Davis”, “Cal-Davis”, “U.C. Davis”, “UC-Davis” and similar combinations of letters and punctuation are also incorrect.

• UC Davis begins Big Sky Conference action when Weber State visits for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Aggie Stadium on Sept. 24.

• The Aggies and Wildcats are 2-2 in their all-time series but Weber State got the better of the most recent game with its 23-3 win in Ogden, Utah, last season... UC Davis is 1-0 at home against the Wildcats.