Big Sky opener awaits Aggies in North Dakota

Alex Cannon
Sept. 22, 2015

UC DAVIS FOOTBALL GAME NOTES - Game 4 at North Dakota
Sat., Sept. 26 • 11 a.m. (PDT)
Grand Forks, N.D.• Alerus Center (12, 283)

Notes (PDF): UC Davis | North Dakota | Big Sky
Gameday links: Audio | Video | Live Stats | Twitter (in-game updates)

Aggie Information Guide

OPENING KICKOFF
• UC Davis stays on the road for its second straight long roadtrip, making its fifth try for the 500th win in program history... The Aggies are 499-401-33 (.620) since 1915.
• They’re also playing a team coming off a matchup against a defending national champion: Hawaii faced Ohio State (FBS) on Sept. 12 while North Dakota played rival North Dakota State (FCS) last week.
• UC Davis begins its fourth trek through the rugged Big Sky Conference with this week’s game... The Aggies are 9-15 (.375) over their first three seasons with a high-water mark of 5-3 (T-4th) in HEAD COACH RON GOULD’s inaugural year in 2013.
• This week’s game will complete two consecutive road games covering 7,962 roundtrip miles (4,924 vs. Hawai’i; 2,768 vs. UND)... The mileage rivals the Aggies’ first five games of 2006 (all on the road) when they covered 10,968 miles to Northern Colorado, Montana St., TCU, Youngstown State, Cal Poly).
• UC Davis is making its third-ever trip to the Alerus Center where it is 1-1... Its first visit was during the 2001 NCAA Div. II playoffs when UND posted a 14-2 semifinal win.
• A week after putting together a career-best effort against South Dakota (5 rec., 121 yds, 75-yd TD), WR Chris Martin was at it again in Hawai’i, catching four passes for 123 yards and a 69-yd TD... His previous best coming into the season was two receptions for 33 yards against Idaho State (2013).
• The Aggies are showing marked improvement on third down... A year after converting 36%, they’re up to 46% (23 for 50) so far this season... Included is an 8-for-16 showing at Hawai’i last weekend.
• RB Manusamoa Luuga was UC Davis’ workhorse on the ground on Saturday, carrying the ball 25 times for 89 yards (both career-highs), eclipsing the 13 carries for 81 yards he had in his Aggie debut at Nevada during his freshman season in 2013.
• A week after rushing for just 60 yards and allowing four sacks, the Aggies played well against Hawai’i along the line of scrimmage, gaining 169 yards and not giving up any sacks... That helped allow QB Ben Scott to not throw any interceptions (18-25-0, 233 yds, 2 TDs) after having three versus South Dakota.
• UC Davis is just one of 11 FCS teams to not allow a first down on fourth down... Opponents are 0 for 2... The Aggies are pretty good on third down also, ranking T-44th (.357) on that critical down.

LAST MEETING
• RB Gabe Manzanares rushed for 132 yards and 2 TDs, and caught three passes for 62 yards and another score during the UC Davis’ 34-18 Big Sky win at Aggie Stadium on Nov. 16, 2013.
• CB Shamawn Wright had six tackles and a PBU to help the Aggies’ defense give up just 60 rushing yards.
• UC Davis never trailed in the game.

NOTES FROM HAWAI’I
• UC Davis led twice: 3-0 after K BRADY STUART’s 21-yd FG in the first quarter, and 10-6 after FB Derek Baljeu dove in after an 8-yard reception late in the second quarter... Hawai’i then rattled off 27 straight points for a 33-10 lead early in the fourth.
• P Colby Wadman put three kicks inside the 20 to the 9-, 4- and 3-yardlines... The Rainbow Warriors blocked a fourth-quarter punt, the first against Wadman in his career.
• UC Davis went 4 for 4 in the red-zone with 2 TDs and 2 FGs, keeping the Aggies perfect this season (8 for 8)... Only 21 teams in FCS have scored on every trip into the red-zone.
• DT Kyle DeVaughn and LB Ryan Bua each had sacks... DeVaughn’s gave him two for the season and 9.5 as an Aggie, while Bua picked up his first career sack.
• Freshman S Ryan Parenteau led the defense with six total tackles (4 solo) and forced a fumble... Bua had a forced fumble as well.
• LB TRAVON BROOKS blocked a third-quarter PAT, the Aggies’ first since DT Anthony Kaspar against North Dakota in 2013.
• RB Joshua Kelley returned a kickoff 55 yards, the longest of his new UC Davis career... It was the team’s longest since an 89-yd TD return by Shamawn Wright against Fort Lewis last season in the Aggies’ second game.

MARTIN ENJOYING BREAKOUT
• WR Chris Martin has already put together a career season, just three games into his junior year... He has 12 catches for 282 yards and 2 TDs... His yards and scores are past his career totals entering 2015 (117 yds, 1 TD) and he needs just one catch to equal his total of 13.
• Martin, who had a 27-yard reception as a freshman for his previous long, already has TD catches of 75 (USD) and 69 yards (UH).

DeVAUGHN PICKING UP SACKS
• DT Kyle DeVaughn has 2.0 sacks for 18 yards through three games, matching his freshman-year total of 2.0 and halfway to his junior-year mark of 4.0.
• Both of DeVaughn’s sacks this season came against FBS opponents Nevada and Hawai’i... For his career, he has 12.2 TFLs... His 11 tackles are T-2nd on the Aggies this year.

PARENTEAU STEPPING OUT
• Freshman S Ryan Parenteau is making a name for himself as a freshman... He’s tied for second on the team with 11 tackles, and has forced and recovered a fumble... He returned his fumble 15 yards against South Dakota.
• He’s tied with LB Brady Stibi, CB Patrick Wells and DT Kyle DeVaughn... LB Russell Reeder has 14 total tackles (11 solo) to lead the team... All of Wells’ 11 stops are solo tackles.

STUART’S FOOT IS PERFECT
• K Brady Stuart is 4 for 4 in field goals this year, giving him seven straight makes going back to last season... He’s also within three of tying Sean Kelley and six of career leader EDDIE LORETTO (see page 5 for charts).
• His four FGs are just one off his total of last season... Stuart is 3 for 3 from 20-29 yards and also has a 40-yarder.

POINTS COMING OFF T’OVERS
• The Aggies have scored 61 points this season with about a one-third (20 pts) coming off turnovers... Opponents have 105 points with just 17 pct. coming off turnovers (18 pts).

VARGAS MAKES RUN
• WR Ramon Vargas strung together three straight 100-yard receiving games (141 vs. MSU, 129 vs. Montana, 122 vs. UNC) last season, coming within one of tying the school record held by Sean Creadick (2010), TONY KAYS (2005) and Michael Oliva (2001)... He missed it by just eight yards after gaining 92 at Northern Arizona in Week 9.2a

TEAM CAPTAINS
• OL Parker Smith and SS Keleen Culberson will serve as team captains during the 2015 season... It is each of their first years serving in the leadership role.
• The Aggies will have two other captains each game... Those will be selected on a game-by-game basis.
• Captains for North Dakota are TBA.

GREAT SCOTT! WHAT A START
• QB Ben Scott had one game and five career passes prior to starting his first game when the Aggies hosted Montana State last season.
• All he did was go 27 of 46 for 379 yds and 4 TDs... They were the most yards by a UC Davis QB in their debut start and tied for 23rd most in a game... Scott also had a 31-yard run, the longest by an Aggie since J.T. O’Sullivan in 2001.
• Scott’s passing yardage tied him with former Aggie QB and current offensive coordinator Kevin Daft (vs. Sac State in 1997).

SMITH GETS 0-LINE CYCLE
• OL Parker Smith played both right and left guard earlier during his Aggie career before starting last season at right tackle for injured teammate Christian Schneider.
• Another injury to former OL Jay Luchetti moved him over to center for the balance of 2014 where he earned All-Big Sky honorable mention.
• Smith completes the cycle in 2015 by taking his talents to left tackle where he’ll face the opponent’s top rusher while protecting QB BEN SCOTT’s blindside... Smith, called the Aggies’ best lineman by head coach Ron Gould, replaces Ian Joseph who started all 45 games of his UC Davis career prior to graduating.

CANNON GETS 6TH YEAR
• WR ALEX CANNON may be the fastest player on the Aggies and he’ll get a chance to prove it one more year after receiving a clock extension from the NCAA for a sixth year.
• Cannon received medical hardship waivers after suffering season-ending injuries for the 2011 and 2013 seasons, leading to the successful petition for another season of eligibility.
• He entered the 2015 campaign with 28 catches for 484 yards and a touchdown in his career.

WADMAN A TOP PUNTER
• P Colby Wadman has followed a tough act with a tough one of his own... He replaced All-Big Sky punter Colton Schmidt (now starting for the Buffalo Bills) and averaged 40.0 yds through 125 punts over two seasons.
• His 42.3 average (rounded from 42.26) last year is fourth-best for a season, barely trailing BILL INGRAM (42.28)... Schmidt (44.5, 42.3) is 1-2 on the single-season list.
• Wadman is on pace to become just the third Aggie to average 40.0 yds for a career... He ranked fifth in the Big Sky, which is loaded with good punters, and 14th in FCS.
• Wadman put a third of his 54 punts inside the 20 in 2014, had 13 fair-caught and posted a long of 65 yards... He earned Big Sky honorable mention for the second straight year.

STAFF PHOTO GETS NEW SMILES
• Head coach Ron Gould welcomed three new faces to the coaching staff photo and five new smiles overall with the addition of WES NURSE (cornerbacks), JIM CHAPIN (running backs) and David Braun (def. line) during the winter.
• Nurse was on the Aggie staff in 2011 before leaving and returning, Chapin was most recently at Indiana Univ. (Pennsylvania), and Braun spent the last four years at his alma mater of Winona State (Minn.).
• Also joining the Aggies are Matt Ulrich (def. quality control) and Darren Ervin (spec. teams quality control; dir. of player personnel).

‘14 POSTSEASON HONORS
• UC Davis had 10 Aggies recognized by the Big Sky on its postseason honor roll... OL Ian Joseph (1st team) and RB Gabe Manzanares (2nd team) are both graduated... FS CHARLES BOYETT, TE Mark Martindale, LB Steven Pitts and FB Dalton Turay are departed seniors who were each honorable mention.
• OL Parker Smith, QB Ben Scott, WR Ramon Vargas and P Colby Wadman are returners that picked up honorable mention accolades.

PRESEASON POLLS
• UC Davis was voted selected 12th by the head coaches and 11th by the media in the Big Sky’s preseason polls.
• Montana State edged defending champion Eastern Washington for the No. 1 spot from the coaches while the order was reversed in a close media vote.
• No Aggies were selected to the 30-play Preseason All-Big Sky team.

INSTANT REPLAY IS HERE
• The Big Sky has joined a growing number of FCS conferences by adding instant replay to its league games.
• Notable items: All plays will be reviewed by a replay official in the booth but play will not be stopped unless necessary... The game will not be stopped by the replay official if it does not effect the “competitive balance” of the game (although coaches may still challenge the call).
• The presumption is the on-field call is correct and only indisputable video evidence can overturn it.
• Head coaches receive one challenge per game but will get a second one if he is successful on the first... If they lose a challenge, the team will be charged a timeout.

CLASSROOM EXCELLENCE
• The Aggies posted an NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 974 to lead the Big Sky Conference for the third consecutive year... The distinction earned them an APR Award from the FCS Athletics Directors Assocition for the third straight year as well.
• 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 four straight).
• The APR measures student-athlete retention and eligibility and helps provide a real-time mark of classroom performance.

NEW STADIUM TURF
• Aggie Stadium opened for business in 2007 and has new artificial turf for the first time since... Shaw Sports Turf was installed over the summer, providing a marked difference to the FieldTurf that preceded it.
• Most notably, the new turf is 3/4-inch shorter (2” vs. 2.75”) while the turf inlay is equal parts sand and rubber, compared to the all-rubber inlay previously.
• Visually, the turf alternates shades of green every five yards, except for a 10-yard stretch of dark green at midfield that serves as the background for the traditional Mustang C logo.
• The endzones are blue with “Vegas gold” lettering... The campus’ official UC Davis wordmark is in the south endzone while “Aggies” is in the north.
• The 105,000-square foot playing surface, which is also home to the Aggies’ women’s lacrosse team and features its playing lines, was installed by ProSpectra Contract Flooring and was funded through the Facilities And Campus Enhancement Initiative (F.A.C.E.) passed by undergraduates in 1999.

ARP CONTINUES GAME STREAK
Fred Arp coached the defensive line at UC Davis from 1967-2007, becoming not only one of the most beloved Aggie coaches in school history, but turned out some of the best players the program has ever seen.
• The purveyor of “Club Fred” – as his players called their position group – only missed one game as a coach and that was for the birth of his son, Ben.
• Otherwise, Arp was perfect on the sidelines and that streak continues to this day... Saturday marks his 424th consecutive Aggie game that he’s attended.
• Arp was also a winner of the AFCA Div. II Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

GOULD PRODUCES RBs
• 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.
• Currently, his former players form a ‘who’s who’ of NFL standouts: Marshawn Lynch (Seattle), Shane Vereen (New York 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.

ROOT FOR THE AGGIES
• UC Davis will be featured on ROOT SPORTS for the fourth 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 2015 season.
• The Aggies will host Montana on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. as part of the package... UC Davis also hosted ROOT SPORTS games against Montana (2013) and Montana State (2012, 2014) and were shown last season at Portland State as well... UC Davis is 0-5 in ROOT SPORTS games.

COACHING TREE
• 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.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
• 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.
• Did we say ‘thank you’? Consider it said.

AGGIE PROGRAM NEARS 500
• UC Davis needs one win to reach 500 in the 100-year history of the program. The Aggies have been stuck on 499 since beating Cal Poly in the 10th game of last season.
• UC Davis did not play games in 1918 or from 1943-45 and have used 16 head coaches to amass those wins... JACK GLASCOCK (1-2; 1917) has the fewest while JIM SOCHOR (156-41-5) has the most.  

HISTORICAL STREAKS
• Some notable streaks have been associated with the UC Davis football program through the years:
• 37 - Consecutive winning seasons from 1970-2006... The first 35 came when the Aggies were officially playing as a Div. II program and still stands as the Div. II record.
• 20 - Consecutive years (1971-1993) of either winning outright or sharing a conference championship during UC Davis’ tenure in the Far Western Conference, Northern California Athletic Conference and American West Conference.
• 442 - Consecutive games from 1969-2010 that the Aggies had at least 200 yards of total offense.

PRO FOOTBALL CONNECTIONS
• UC Davis currently has two players in the NFL and another in the CFL.
• TE Daniel Fells is currently with the New York Giants where he opened the season with three catches for 33 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 13... He’s played for five different teams since breaking into the league in 2006.
Colton Schmidt is in his second season as the starting punter for the Buffalo Bills and earned rave reviews from head coach Rex Ryan following the team’s season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts... Schmidt averaged a career-high 50.4 yards on five punts in the game and is averaging 45.5 through his first two.
• Neither Fells nor Schmidt were drafted after their UC Davis careers... Schmidt had training camp stints with the San Francisco 49ers in both 2013 and 2014 while Fells broke in with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.
• Up north, WR Bakari Grant has 25 catches for 389 yards and 4 TDs for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season... He has 232 receptions for 2,924 yards and 16 TDs since joining the league in 2011.
• For the record, the last UC Davis player drafted into the NFL was QB J.T. O’SULLIVAN in 2002.

AGGIES, ROTC FORM BOND
• UC Davis players carry three items when entering the field during pregame... The first is a sledgehammer which is carried by the Aggies’ special teams player of the week.
• The team also brings an American flag onto the field as well as a flag representing the Forged Gold Battalion ROTC at UC Davis.
• The ROTC and the Aggies formed a bond during the preseason when they combined for leadership “boot camp” on Sunday, Aug. 9.
• The players had been told they’d have Sundays off during preseason camp but were then told the night of Aug. 8 to report to Toomey Field at 5 a.m. the next morning... It was there that they learned and experienced the dedication and leadership of the Army ROTC.

TAKING THEIR TIME; LOTS OF IT
• Ball control has been a strength of the Aggies so far this season... They’ve held an edge in time of possession in all three games with at least 31:13 per game.
• They held the ball a whopping 39:58 against Hawai’i, pushing their season average to 35:06 which places them third in FCS... UC Davis’ total TOP is 105:18, trailing only defending national champion North Dakota State (111:56).

NCAA STAT LEADERS
Individual top 50:
• K Brady Stuart - FG%: T-1st (1.000); FG/gm: 21st (1.33).
• QB Ben Scott - Comp.%: 25th (.636); Comp./gm: 12th (23.3); Passing TDs: 33rd (5); Passing yds: 19th (705); Passing ypg: 29th (235.5); Pts. resp. for: 43rd (30); Total off: 43rd (229.7).
• LB Xavier Griggs - Fum. recovered: T-14th (1).
• S Ryan Parenteau - Fum. recovered: T-14th (1)
• RB Joshua Kelley - Kick Ret.: 13th (31.0).
• CB Nate Walker - Kick Ret.:38th (23.0).
• WR Chris Martin - Rec. yds: 11th (282); Rec. ypg.: 15th (94.0); Rec. TDs: 2nd (26th); Yds/rec.: 15th (23.5)
• RB Manusamoa Luuga: Rec./gm: 42nd (5.7)
Team top 50:
• Passing offense: 37th (237.3)
• Passing yds. allowed: 35th (190.7)
• 3rd down conv.: 25th (.460)
• 4th down def.: T-1st (.000)
• 3rd down def.: T-43rd (.357)
• Kickoff returns: 31st (23.38)
• First downs offense: 39th (58)
• Time of possession: 3rd (35:06)

LOOKING AHEAD
• UC Davis hosts Montana for third time since 2009 while trying for first all-time series win.

The Last Meeting
North Dakota18
UC Davis34
November 16, 2013
Davis, Calif.
Aggies Post 34-18 Win over UND on Senior Day
Final Stats | Gabe Manzanares had 213 all-purpose yards, including 147 on the ground, while scoring three touchdowns as UC Davis beat visiting North Dakota 34-18 in a Big Sky Conference football game at Aggie Stadium on Saturday.