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UC Davis finishes a season-long stretch of three straight road games - its longest since 2006 - as head coach Bob Biggs gets set to face rival Cal Poly in the "Battle for the Golden Horseshoe" for the last time.
Ironically, the Aggies' first-ever Big Sky game is against a team that has been a member of their last two conferences: the American West Conference (1993) and the Great West Conference (2004-12)... The Mustangs are also in their first Big Sky season.
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.
The only team Biggs has more wins against than Cal Poly (11) is Causeway Classic rival Sacramento State (15)... Six of the Aggies all-time wins in this series have come in SLO.
The Aggies have won three straight in the series, matching its second-longest winning streak (1998-2000) over the Mustangs, and trailing only a five-game run from 1982-86.
UC Davis will face a vaunted rushing attack from the opposition for the second straight week ... Last Saturday, the Aggies went up against South Dakota State's RB Zach Zenner who entered averaging 230.5 ypg... This week, they face a Cal Poly squad ranked fifth in NCAA Div. I FCS rushing (324.00).
The Mustangs are coming off a 24-22 upset at Wyoming last weekend, its first win over an FBS member since beating San Diego State 29-27 in the 2008 season opener.
The Aggies are trying to rebound from a 12-8 loss in a defensive battle at South Dakota State... The Jackrabbits' points were the lowest for a winning opponent since Grand Valley State edged UC Davis 9-6 in OT on Sept. 6, 2003.
The 20 combined points were the fewest in an Aggie game since North Dakota's 14-2 win in the 2001 NCAA Div. II Semifinals.
The Aggies are among the least penalized teams in the country, ranking fifth for fewest yards per game (23.33) and T-9th for penalties (3.67).
Not including sacks or team yards, UC Davis has just seven negative rushing yards in 79 rushing attempts.
The Aggies have yet to allow a point in the first quarter (17-0).
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. CAL POLY
UC Davis holds a 19-16-2 all-time series lead over the Mustangs, having won the past three games by scoring an average of 22.0 ppg.
In the annals of Aggie history, UC Davis' 37 games against Cal Poly only trail Chico State (66), Sacramento State (59), Humboldt State (57), Nevada (51) and San Francisco State (51) for most against an opponent.
Biggs is 11-8 against the Mustangs including a 5-4 record at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The series between the programs began in 1939 (Aggies, 28-0) but took a 36-year break after the 1940 matchup... The teams have faced each other every season since 1976, except for 1977.
UC Davis is 7-10 all-time in San Luis Obispo and 4-2 since 2000.
CAL POLY-UC DAVIS RIVALRY REVISITED
UC Davis and Cal Poly have enjoyed some memorable games at Alex G. Spanos Stadium since 2000:
2000 (UCD, 63-28) - RB MATT BROWN rushed for a school-record tying 5 TD's and QB J.T. O'SULLIVAN threw for 415 yards.
2004 (UCD, 36-33) - Aggies complete last-minute comeback when QB Jon Grant hits WR Tony Kays on a 14-yard TD pass in final seconds... Head coach Bob Biggs designed the winning play on the bus ride to Cal Poly.
2010 (UCD, 22-21) - Aggies complete comeback from 21-0 deficit in first half to win by a point when QB Randy Wright hits WR Sean Creadick with 35 seconds left.
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 141-80-1 (.635) overall record and is 64-55-0 (.538) against NCAA Div. I (FBS, FCS) teams... Biggs is also 39-33-1 (.541) in the month of September and is 62-53-0 (.539) 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.
TIM WALSH (UC Riverside `77) is 19-16 (.543) and in his fourth year at Cal Poly and owns a career mark of 136-98 (.581) while in his 22nd season.
Walsh is no stranger against UC Davis having faced the Aggies while a head coach at Sonoma State (1989-92) and at Portland State (1993-2006).
He led Cal Poly to the 2011 Great West Conference championship in the league's final year sponsoring football.
CAL POLY SCOUTING REPORT
The Mustangs favor running the ball by an almost 4-to-1 margin (130 rushes vs. 33 passes), averaging 324.0 yards on the ground per game... RB DEONTE WILLIAMS leads the way (148.0 ypg, 7.4 avg.) but also gets support from QB ANDRE BROADUS (65.0 ypg) and FB AKANINYENE UMOH (52.5 ypg).
Broadus has averaged just 83.0 passing ypg. through the first two games and has only 18 completions, but has found the endzone on three of them.
Cal Poly is averaging 408.5 ypg in total offense (32nd in FCS) and has allowed just one sack (T-10th).
The Mustangs led Wyoming 14-0 in the first quarter last week, went down 15-14 at halftime but took a 24-15 lead in the fourth after K BOBBY ZALUD's 51-yard FG.
Williams rushed for 187 yards, averaging 9.8 yards a carry with a long of 74 yards... He also had a 65-yard carry in which he scored the game's first touchdown.
Cal Poly rushed for 325 yards on 68 attempts and threw for only 31 yards.
The Mustangs' defense has also been impressive, ranking ninth in yards allowed (250.0 ypg) and ninth in pass efficiency (98.8 rtg).
They also give up just an average of 14 first downs per game, tied for seventh nationally.
LB NICK DZUBNAR (16 tackles) and DB KENNITH JACKSON (16 tackles) lead the way on the defensive side of the ball.
Cal Poly has just 6 TFL's including only one sack through its first two games but has intercepted four passes.
Jackson had 10 tackles against the Cowboys last week while DB NICO MOLINO had an interception.
The Mustangs held Wyoming to just 260 yards, 2 of 12 on third down and put them away with six three-and-outs that totaled just 26 yards.
Cal Poly also held a decisive advantage in time of possession: 35:39-24:21.
Zalud has made all three of his FG attempts while averaging 40.0 yards per punt... He has a long of 62 yards.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM JACKRABBITS GAME
CB Jonathan Perkins had a 69-yard interception return for a TD, the first pick taken to the endzone since CB Adam Cook went 87 yards against Sacramento State in 2007... For good measure, Perkins had a 22-yard fumble recovery earlier.
UC Davis (54 yards) was held below 60 net rushing yards for the second straight game... Much of the negative yardage came from seven sacks (for 55 yards) by South Dakota State.
Neither team got into the red-zone during the game, with all three touchdowns coming from at least 23 yards... Neither team attempted an extra point either, opting for two-point conversion tries.
WR Alex Cannon scooted in around the left side for a two-point conversion in the second quarter, the first one for UC Davis since RB O.J. Swanigan made good on his try against Sacramento State in 2004.
WR Tim Benton's five receptions were the first of his collegiate career and led the team last Saturday, as did his 66 yards.
P Colton Schmidt averaged 36.6 yards on nine punts, sticking five of them inside the 20... Six of his kicks ended up in fair catches.
UC Davis was just 3 of 13 on third down.
LB Steven Pitts had 10 tackles at South Dakota State, a career-high for him and the most for an Aggie since LB Byron Gruendl posted 11 against North Dakota in the second-to-last game of 2011.
The Jackrabbits' two longest drives were each 10 yards... They were turned away by either a punt or turnover on their first four possessions and then four times in a row after scoring their first touchdown.
SDSU had 373 total yards more than half from RB ZACH ZENNER who had 197 rushing yards to go with his two touchdowns.
AGGIES HAVE BEEN SACKED A BAKER'S DOZEN
UC Davis has given up 13 sacks in its past two games, including seven at South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits' total tied Southern Utah for the most in the past eight seasons.
San Jose State had six this year while Arizona State (2011), Cal Poly (2010) and Northeastern (2008) each had five in recent seasons.
The Aggies are ranked T-114th in sacks allowed (4.33 pg).
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.)
They're not off to a productive start on the ground, averaging 96.0 ypg with most of that coming against Azusa Pacific in the opener (176 yards).
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 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 averaging 46.3 ypg (33rd in FCS) while helping the Aggies net 39.5 yards (12th).
Schmidt is currently ranked 13th among FCS punters for career average (40.18)... His 197 punts are third-most among active FCS punters.
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.
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 5,158 total yards and needs 229 to move into the Aggies' career top 10.
Wright's 436 completions (10th) and 751 attempts (8th) 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 (208.3), 13th for career yards, 11th for completions and 19th for TD's.
UC Davis owns an all-time record of 489--370-33 (.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.
KASPAR GOES HEAD UP AGAINST BROTHER
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.
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.
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' conference affiliation: Far Western Conference (1925-81), NCAC (1982-92), American West (1993) and Great West (2004-2011).
DE Bobby Erskine (San Jose State) and RB Tavior Mowry (South Dakota State) each suffered injuries and are not scheduled to play this week.
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 POLLS
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.
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).