UC Davis and Idaho State Set for Big Sky Opener

Corey Galindo
UC Davis game notes | Idaho State game notes | Live Audio | Live Video | Twitter in-game updates 

Sept. 25, 2013

Idaho State (2-1) at UC Davis (0-4)

Saturday, Sept. 28 • 6 pm (kickoff 6:06)  • Davis, Calif.
Aggie Stadium (10,849; Shaw Sports Turf)
TV - None
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 5:30 pm • KDVS (90.3 FM)
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com (Free)
Live Audio: www.ucdavisaggies.com (Free)

Series Record: UC Davis leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Oct. 13, 2012; UC Davis won 52-45
Last Meeting Location: Pocatello, Idaho
Longest Aggie Win Streak: 1  
Longest ISU Win Streak: NA
Last Aggie Win: 52-45 (10/13/12 at ISU)
Last Bengals Win: NA

UC Davis and Idaho State meet for just the second time, but for the second time in as many years, when the Bengals and Aggies open their Big Sky Conference seasons on Saturday evening... UC Davis beat Weber State, 37-13, in its first Big Sky home game last season... DE Nick King is ranked 13th in the FCS and second in the Big Sky in sacks (1.0 pg) while S Aarynn Jones is 20th nationally and third in the conference in solo tackles (6.3 pg)... CB Shamawn Wright continues to rank among the national leaders in kickoff returns, averaging 29.8 yards, which puts him 14th in the country and best in the Big Sky... Tonight's game marks the final evening contest of the season for UC Davis which may end some games in darkness from here on out, but will certainly start each one in daylight... The three-game regular-season homestand that comes to a close Saturday is the program's first since 2010 and is its longest since playing five in a row at home in 2008... The Aggies are off to an 0-4 start for the first time since 1965 when they eventually finished with a 4-6 overall record... Idaho State has lost 40 consecutive road games, the longest active streak in the FCS.

Saturday's game will be aired on KHTK-Radio (1140 AM) with UC Davis alum SCOTT MARSH (play-by-play) and DOUG KELLY (analyst) in the booth... They'll be joined by BILL HERENDA (sidelines)... The pregame show begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be streamed (free) on www.ucdavisaggies.com... Campus station KDVS-Radio (90.3 FM) will also air the game...  GREG WONG (play-by-play) and SAMMY MECKLER (analyst) will have the call for KDVS... KHTK's call will be simulcast on www.ucdavisaggies.com.

There is no television coverage of Saturday's game... It will be available, however, free of charge through the Big Sky Conference on www.WatchBigSky.com... A link is available through the schedule page at www.ucdavisaggies.com... All remaining regular season Aggie games will also be available.

UC Davis and Idaho State have an all-time series that dates all the way back to 2012 and is comprised of a mighty one game... However, despite the newness of the Big Sky rivalry, the teams put together quite a showcase last year at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho... The Aggies won 52-45 in a shootout that featured 1,069 yards of combined offense (640 by UC Davis), 57 first downs and just one turnover... RB Colton Silveria (120) and RB Marquis Nicolis (105) helped lead a season-high 331 rushing yards for the Aggies while QB Randy Wright threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns... A majority of the Bengals' yards (374) came through the air while the running game was stifled by UC Davis to the tune of just 55 yards... RB Courtney Williams and TE Mark Martindale scored back-to-back TDs in the third quarter, giving UC Davis a key 38-24 lead.

The Bengals jumped out to a 2-0 start this season, their first since 1999, before traveling to nationally ranked Washington last weekend and losing 56-0... QB JUSTIN ARIAS got his signal-calling career off to a good start, throwing for 868 yards in his first two games against Dixie State (439) and Western State (429)... He was held to 140 yards by the Huskies... The Bengals are ranked seventh among FCS teams in passing yards (336.7) and 39th in total offense (423.0)... Arias is No. 6 among FCS quarterbacks in passing (336.0) and is second in the Big Sky... WR CAMERON RICHMOND has 26 catches for 317 yards, more than double the next receiver on the Bengals' receiving ledger, and is ranked nationally in catches per game (8.7, 4th), receiving yards per game (105.7, 17th) and total receiving yards (317)... While Idaho State is throwing for 336.0 ypg, it's rushing for just 86.3 ypg., and is led in that department by RB XAVIER FINNEY (56.7)... LB MITCH BECKSTEAD has 26 tackles to lead the defense which is still looking for its first pick... Idaho State is allowing 401.0 ypg in offense, 69th in FCS, but has been putting up a solid pass rush, averaging 3.33 sacks per game; 14th-best nationally... K BRENDON GARCIA has been effective, making his first seven field goal attempts (7 for 9 overall), including a 50-yarder.

Despite the final score, UC Davis was competitive with Portland State into the second half after trailing just 14-7 at halftime... The Vikings scored 20 straight points covering the second and third quarters to break a 7-7 tie and take control of the game... Portland State rushed for 427 yards, the most against the Aggies since Cal Poly rushed for 427 yards in a 51-28 win in 2008... The Vikings used big plays throughout the game, picking up 10 plays of at least 27 yards... Six of them came via the rush (85, 70, 50, 37, 28, and 27 yards), one on a 68-yard pass, and three on kickoff returns (50, 35 and 27 yards)... RB DJ ADAMS' 85-yard rush in the first quarter was the longest by an Aggie opponent since Northern Arizona RB AUSTIN SHANKS went 78 yards last season... It's also the longest opponent run in at least the last 11 seasons... The game was interrupted for 36 minutes early in the second quarter because of lightning in the area... UC Davis' three interceptions by S Aarynn Jones, CB Jonathan Perkins and S Charles Boyett were the team's first of the season... The Aggies had the ball for 12:33 of the first quarter and 37:11 for the game, both season-highs for a quarter and a game... DT Anthony Kaspar blocked an extra point; the first blocked kick of the season for UC Davis and the first of Kaspar's career... The Aggies' five third-down conversions were the most of the season... They averaged 1.9 yards per carry; their lowest average for any game this season... UC Davis punted 10 times for the second straight week... Its three penalties for 27 yards were season-lows while Portland State's 10 for 99 yards were season-highs for an opponent.

S AARYN JONES, CB Jonathan Perkins and S Charles Boyett each had interceptions against Portland State, the Aggies' first of the season... UC Davis twice had three picks in a game last season: vs. Weber State (9/29) and vs. Sacramento State (11/7)... Boyett returned his interception last weekend 27 yards.

Last weekend's matchup with the Vikings was halted at 6:44 p.m. because of lightning in the area... There was 14:48 left in the second quarter when the 36-minute delay occurred... It was third such delay of an Aggie game since 2000...  The 2010 Causeway Classic with Sacramento State at Aggie Stadium was stopped for 47 minutes because of lightning... The game was resumed and UC Davis won 17-16... A 41-28 win at Abilene Christian (Texas) in 2001 nearly didn't finish because of a 90-minute delay due to a spectacular lightning display... Officials were within minutes of cancelling the remainder of the game before it was able to be resumed... Ironically, a nearby, fully lit carnival continued on throughout the storm. 

QB Jimmy Laughrea, highly touted out of nearby Rocklin HS where he was an all-city first-team quarterback, came to UC Davis from powerhouse Boise State where he redshirted in 2011 and did not see action in 2012... The Broncos are coached by Aggie alum CHRIS PETERSEN... He joined UC Davis in time for fall camp and earned the starting nod after the season opener at South Dakota... Laughrea (pronounced LOCK-ray) threw for 6,684 yards in his prep career and 44 TDs his last two years.

UC Davis' 34 points over its first four games is its lowest four-game output since scoring just 29 points against Santa Clara (L,0-3), Cal State Hayward (L,14-30), Sacramento State (L,7-24) and Humboldt State (L,8-29) in 1968... The Aggies finished 5-4 that season.

WR Tom Hemmingsen caught a season-high nine passes for 86 yards against Portland State, giving him 1,001 career yards... He leads the team with 22 receptions for 239 yards... Hemmingsen, who had a foot injury last year and did not play, was the Aggies' leading receiver in 2011 (50 rec., 622 yards).

UC Davis is 0-4 for the first time since 1965 when it lost its first four games before turning around and winning four of its final six... We don't like to talk about it, but the 0-5 start occurred in 1960 when the program endured an 0-8-1 record... Other 0-5 starts happened inm 1952 when the Aggies were 0-7 before winning, and in 1953 when they dropped their first six... In the 95-year history of UC Davis football, that's it... OK, we've talked about... Let's move on.

UC Davis has made just seven trips into the red zone through its first four games... Three of them occurred last week against Portland State, two of them came at South Dakota while ethe other two games had just two... The Aggies have scored four times with two touchdowns.. Opponents have 13 red-zone trips and have scored 11 times (9 TDs)... They've outscored UC Davis 67-20.

UC Davis has posted 13 plays of last 27 yards with six of them coming on special teams, and three of those by CB Shamawn Wright who has kickoff returns of 59, 35 and 31 yards... 59 yards also represents the longest pass play of the year (QB Jimmy Laughrea to WR Alex Cannon) at Nevada... RB Manusamoa Luuga's 46-yard rush at Nevada is the longest of its type this season for the Aggies and came on his first career touch. 

Ron Gould spent 16 seasons on the staff at nearby Cal, developing some of the nation's top collegiate - and now professional - running backs while also rising to associate head coach status... It's not surprising then that his Aggie coaching staff has a decidedly "Golden Bear" flavor... Seven members of Gould's coaching and support staff have spent time in Berkeley, including offensive coordinator - and Aggie alum - Kevin Daft who worked alongside Gould for seven seasons as wide receivers and quarterbacks coach... Others include defensive coordinator Bert Watts (2 years as def. asst.), offensive line coach Matt Wiegand (2 years as grad asst.), tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Ben Steele (2 years as offensive admin. asst.), defensive quality control staff member Robert Haney (1 year as quality control asst.), offensive quality control coach Quinn Tedford (1 year volunteer asst. wide receivers coach and also a former player)... Tedford is the son of former Cal coach Jeff Tedford... Additionally, director of operations Denis Hallin (9 years as admin. asst.) brings extensive experience from Cal. 

It's no secret that Ron Gould has been called one of the, if not the, best running backs coaches in the country... His success with the Bears' ground attack and the NFL-caliber players that excelled under his tutelage have been well-documented... In 2004 he oversaw Cal's best rushing average in more than 50 years at 256.8 ypg which ranked it sixth nationally and helped standout J.J. Arrington finish eighth in the 2004 Heisman Trophy balloting... Several Gould's players went on to the NFL... Jahvid Best (2008) was one of three protegès to lead the Pac-10 in rushing, a trio that also featured Arrington (2004) and Marshawn Lynch (2006).

The list of players that are or have recently been on NFL rosters include:

C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos) Eric Stevens (St. Louis Rams)
Justin Forsett (Jacksonville Jaguars) Shane Vereen (New England Patriots)
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions) 
Will Ta'ufo'ou (Jacksonville Jaguars)

LB Jonathan Bias and LB Steven Pitts helped pace the UC Davis defense against Nevada with career-high tackle totals... Bias had 11 stops, three of them solo, and was a nominee for the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week award... Pitts added 11 tackles as well, two of them solo... Bias had eight tackles during his first season on the field in 2012 and had five in this year's opener... Pitts also had a career-high total at Nevada, eclipsing the 10 he had at South Dakota State last season... DE Nick King tied them for most tackles in a game with his 11 against Portland State.

UC Davis enjoyed a standout season in the special teams department, particularly in punting and kick returns which each led the FCS... A big part of that punting effort - Colton Schmidt - graduated and enjoyed time this summer in the San Francisco 49ers' and Cleveland Browns' preseason camp... 2012 NCAA ranks: 

Net punting - 1st (41.4 avg.)
Kick returns -1st (26.4 avg.)
Kick returns (ind.) - 16. Alex Hines (26.9)
Kick returns (ind.) - 30. Jonathan Perkins (24.9)
Punting (ind.) - 6. COLTON  SCHMIDT (44.5)

Perkins had an 81-yard TD return against Sacramento State in the Causeway Classic, the fifth-longest return for a score in school history.

The Aggies wore blue pants and blue jerseys on Sept. 21 for what is believed to be the first time in team history... UC Davis, which has traditionally worn gold pants, went to all-white uniforms for the first time in more than 40 years when it faced San Jose State last season... They've repeated that look several times since.

UC Davis returns veteran experience on the offensive line in left tackle Ian Joseph and right guard Jimmy Kunkel... Joseph, a 6-6, 300, junior from Placerville is working on a streak of 26 consecutive starts... He was the Aggies' first freshman full-time start at left tackle in more than a decade when he opened his career at Arizona State in the 2011 opener... Kunkel, a 6-3, 305, senior from Lakehead, Calif., made his Aggie debut in the 2010 opener at Cal but began his starting streak the same game as Joseph in 2011, putting his run at 26 games as well.

Similar courtesy of consecutive streaks can be said of the Aggies' defensive backfield as well... CB Jonathan Perkins, who earned All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention accolades last year, has started the last 36 games going back to his redshirt freshman season.... He was an All-Great West Conference second-team pick in 2010 before gaining Big Sky honors last year... Perkins is a senior from Gardena, Calif.....  Dre Allen, a senior from Compton, Calif., has started 15 consecutive games including all 11 last year.  

The conference released its preseason polls of both the media/SID's and head coaches during its annual Big Sky Kickoff Event in Park City, Utah on July 15... The top 10 teams were the same in each ranking: 1. Montana State, 2. Eastern Washington, 3. Montana, 4. Cal Poly, 5. Northern Arizona, 6. Sacramento State, 7. North Dakota, 8. Northern Colorado, 9. Southern Utah, 10. Portland State... The media finished with 11. UC DAVIS, 12. Weber State, 13. Idaho State... The coaches listed 11. Weber State, 12. UC DAVIS and 13. Idaho State in their final three spots. 

Several Aggies were recognized by various media outlets during the annual parade of preseason honors... The list includes FB Dalton Turay who was selected to the preseason All-Big Sky Team, voted by the media as the squad's only fullback... Turay rushed for 234 yards and 7 TDs last year, including three touchdowns in the second quarter alone against Weber State, while also adding 21 receptions for 156 yards and another score. 

Other preseason honors include:
Phil Steele's Preview Preseason All-Big Sky Teams - FB Dalton Turay, TE Taylor Sloat, DE Nick King AND CB Jonathan Perkins.

Phil Steele's Preview Preseason Position Ratings - FB Dalton Turay (#12), TE Taylor Sloat (#18), KR and CB Jonathan Perkins (#19 and #25), DE Nick King (#22), PK Brady Stuart (#28), QB Randy Wright (#33) and WR Corey Galindo (#35).

College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big Sky Teams - TE Taylor Sloat (2nd team), DE Nick King (3rd team), CB Jonathan Perkins (third team).

College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists - Tight ends: Taylor Sloat; Placekickers: Brady Stuart; Kick returners: Jonathan Perkins.

UC Davis has 100 players on its roster and if 99 of them ever need to find a ride home during vacation, they will very likely have a teammate that's from a nearby locale... That's because 99 percent (that's 99 of 100) of the Aggies' roster is home-grown from California... Freshman LB Xavier Griggs is the lone player who might have to scramble for a ride since he hails from Portland, Ore... Griggs is the first out-of-state player since former QB Sean Maraz who was from Phoenix, Ariz., and was on the 2011 roster. 

UC Davis will be selecting its team captains on a week-to-week basis:

SOUTH DAKOTA - DE Nick King; OL Jimmy Kunkel; TE Taylor Sloat; CB Dre Allen.
NEVADA - WR Tom Hemmingsen, DE Colin Kelly, DE Nick King, OL Parker SMITH 
NORTHERN ARIZONA - OL Ian Joseph, DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, LB Steven Pitts
PORTLAND STATE - DT Khalid Jones, DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, TE Mark Martindale
IDAHO STATE - DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, CB Jonathan Perkins, FB Dalton Turay

The league office selects offensive, defense and special teams players of the week every Monday during the football season.

Sept. 2 - Offense: QB Vernon ADAMS, Eastern Washington; Defense: DE Brady DALY, Montana State; Special Teams: K Colton COOK, Southern Utah.

Sept. 9 - Offense: QB Kieran MCDONAGH, Portland State; Defense: LB MATT HOLLEY, Southern Utah; Special Teams: Brendon GARCIA, Idaho State.

Sept. 16 - Offense: QB Jordan JOHNSON, Montana; Defense: S Lucky DOZIER, Northern Arizona; Special Teams: K Brendon Garcia, Idaho State.

Sept. 23 - Offense: RB DJ ADAMS, Portland State; Defense: CB Anders BATTLE, Northern Arizona; Special Teams: K Ben WORST, Montana.

Spring practices were livened up this year with visits from three players that were either on NFL rosters or on their way... Former Cal running back great - and most recently a member of the Detroit Lions - JAHVID BEST came by on Apr. 6 and spoke to the team after practice... He relayed a story about being called into Ron Gould's office... Best thought he was in trouble but instead he said Gould told him, "I'm going to push you and I'm going to test you everyday, no matter what. You can either embrace that or you can fight it."... Best embraced it, finishing his career with 2,668 rushing yards and 29 TDs... He was joined at practice by FB ERIC STEVENS who earned a spot on the St. Louis Rams' practice squad this season... NFL veteran TE Daniel Fells, most recently with the New England Patriots, visited on Apr. 12... Fells had 59 catches for 964 career yards as an Aggie from 2002-05... He was on the Aggies' team in 2005 when it posted its stunning 20-17 win over Stanford. 

UC Davis is 5-2 since 1962 when playing on Sept. 28... The Aggies' most recent game on the date was in 2002 when they traveled to beat Western Oregon, 64-20...  What's the significance to that game? That was the last time UC Davis returned two interceptions for touchdowns... CB Carnell Green had a 46-yard "pick-six" in the second quarter - helping the Aggies lead 44-7 at halftime - while LB Justin Patterson added a 66-yarder in the fourth quarter... The Aggies are 1-0 at home on the date... Other wins: W,33-0 at Pomona College (`63); L,3-0 at Santa Clara (`68); W,23-22 at Santa Clara (`74); L,28-25 vs. Cal Poly (`80); W,34-21 at Cal Poly (`85); W,13-12 at Saint Mary's (`91).

The Aggies played an NCAA Div. I FBS opponent for the ninth consecutive season when they traveled to Nevada on Sept. 7... They are 2-9 with victories over Stanford (20-17; 2005) and San Jose State (14-13, 2010)... Among the other FBS teams they've faced are TCU, Arizona State, Hawai'i, Boise State, Cal and Fresno State... UC Davis also had a memorable upset against (then-called) Div. I-A Pacific in 1986, beating the Tigers 46-41... UC Davis has FBS opponents lined up for each of the next three seasons: Stanford (2014), Nevada (2015) and Oregon (2016).

UC Davis will play one game televised locally when it travels to rival Sacramento State for the 60th Causeway Classic on Sept. 23... The game will be broadcast by Comcast SportsNet California... Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Tickets for all UC Davis home games can be obtained by contact the UC Davis Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting www.ucdavisaggies.com... Season tickets begin at $65.

Former head coach JIM SOCHOR, still a highly visible member of the Aggie community after bringing great success to UC Davis from 1970-88, helped spawn the coaching careers of several prominent collegiate and professional coaches... CHRIS PETERSEN (Boise State) is an alum of UC Davis who quarterbacked the Aggies in the 1980s, GARY PATTERSON (TCU) is a former coach under Sochor, DAN HAWKINS is another Aggie alum who most notably coached at Boise State and Colorado, Aggie player MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon) was a highly successful collegiate coach, former player NICK ALIOTTI is currently the defensive coordinator at Oregon, and PAUL HACKETT played for UC Davis before a prominent NFL and collegiate coaching career... And proving the apple doesn't fall far from the Hackett tree, former UC Davis LB Nathaniel Hackett (1999-2002), son of Dan, is currently the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills... The younger Hackett's teammate, S Ejiro Evero, is an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers... A pair of playing alums - QB MARK GRIEB and DB Keith Buckley - are head coaches at the Div. III level... In fact, this weekend (Sept. 21), Grieb's Menlo Oaks will host Buck's Pacific (Ore.) Boxers

UC Davis is in its second season of membership in the Big Sky Conference, joining as an affiliated member for the 2012 season... It's the Aggies' fifth league since beginning football in 1915... Other conferences:

1925-81 - Far Western Conference
1982-92 - Northern California Athletic Conference
1993 - American West Conference
2004-11 - Great West Conference

UC Davis has won or shared 30 conference championships in its 95-year history, including 20 straight between 1971-90... The Aggies' most recent title came when it won the 2009 Great West title.

Besides 20 consecutive league titles, UC Davis has enjoyed other notable streaks:

442 - Consecutive games with at least 200 yds of offense.
         (Began in 1969; ended vs. Cal in 2010; 81 yds) 
212 - Consecutive games without being shut out.
        (ended vs. Fresno State, 51-0, in 2009)
37 - Consecutive winning seasons (1970-2006).
35 - Consecutive winning Div. II seasons (1970-2004).
(NCAA Div.II record)

The Aggies are playing 12 games in the regular season for the second time since 2008 and just the second time ever... They've played at least 12 a dozen other times but 11 have come with the help of playoff games... The most? Fourteen in 1997 thanks to a Div. II semifinal run. 

The Aggies return to the road for the first time since Sept. 7, facing Southern Utah for the first time since 2011 when they dropped a 34-3 matchup in Cedar City, Utah... UC Davis leads the all-time series 10-6... The game begins a stretch of three road games over the next four weeks.