Aggies Host Wildcats In Big Sky Matchup

Steven Pitts is third on the team in total tackles.
Steven Pitts is third on the team in total tackles.

Sept. 26, 2012

UC Davis game notes | Weber State game notes | Big Sky Conference notes
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Weber State (0-4, 0-1)
UC Davis (1-3, 0-1)

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012
6 p.m.  • Davis, Calif.
Aggie Stadium (10,849)
KHTK (1140 AM) • Big Sky TV

• UC Davis hosts its first-ever Big Sky Conference game on Saturday when Weber State visits, facing the Wildcats for the just the third time overall and the first time at Aggie Stadium.
• The Aggies are trying to avoid a 1-4 start for the second straight year and the third time since 2008.
• Saturday's game features two of NCAA Div. I FCS's best punters in Weber State's TONY EPPERSON (47.66 avg.), who is ranked No. 1, and the Aggies' P Colton Schmidt (41.22), who is 32nd... Epperson is also a starting safety for the Wildcats... Schmidt has had at least one punt sail at least 52 yards in three of the Aggies' four games.
• UC Davis is trying to reverse a trend that's seen it allow 15 sacks over its last three games but wants to extend a run that has the Aggies picking up 2.25 sacks per game, 33rd nationally... DE Nick King is T-26th in the FCS for tackles-for-losses (1.5 pg).
• The first quarter has been kind to UC Davis which has outscored its opponents 27-7 out of the gates... The opposition, however, has returned the favor in the third quarter, outscoring the Aggies 35-7... In the critical fourth quarter, UC Davis holds a 23-16 advantage, a number helped by it converting 50 percent (8 of 16) of its third-down attempts in that period.
• The Aggies are 9 for 10 in the red-zone, picking up six touchdowns... They've been outscored in the red-zone, 62-50 but a majority of that scoring came in a 45-13 loss to San Jose State.
• The yellow hankies continue to fall sparingly against UC Davis which is eighth for fewest penalty yards per game (33.50) and is T-11th for fewest penalties (4.5).
 • WR Alex Hines has been dangerous returning kicks, averaging 27.4 yards an attempt... That ranks him 15th nationally and has helped UC Davis lead the Big Sky (19th in FCS) at 23.9 yards... Hines has a long of 51 yards.
• P Colton Schmidt, who also handles kickoff duties, has had touchbacks half the time (8 of 16).
• Since rushing for 176 yards in the season opener against Azusa Pacific, the Aggies have not gained more than 84 yards (Cal Poly)... They're averaging just 93.0 ypg. (103rd in FCS).
• Head coach Bob Biggs is coaching his final season with UC Davis after announcing his retirement after last season... He is the second-winningest coach (141 wins) in program history.

• UC Davis and Weber State have split their two all-time meetings, both which were played in Ogden, Utah.
• The Aggies, behind an 84-yard TD pass completion from QB Jon Grant to RB O.J. Swanigan, and an 85-yard punt return by WR Jesse Oliva, scored 14 first-quarter points in the iniitial meeting in 2004.
• Weber State had a big play in that same quarter, getting a 30-yard fumble recovery by DE BRADY FOSMARK... UC Davis led 28-10 and went down 29-28 in the fourth quarter, but used a 22-yard FG from K Emmanuel Benjamin to beat the Wildcats 31-29.
• The Aggies never led in the 2010 rematch between the teams but was only down 10-9 early in the fourth quarter... However, the Wildcats scored 10 unanswered down the stretch and won 20-9. 
• WR Sean Creadick had nine catches for 100 yards for UC Davis, the first of his five 100-yard receiving games that season.

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 141-81-1 (.635) overall record and is 64-56-0 (.533) against NCAA Div. I (FBS, FCS) teams... Biggs is also 39-34-1 (.534) in the month of September, 77-27-1 (.738) for all home games and 17-10 (.630) at Aggie Stadium.
• 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.
• JODY SEARS (Washington State `91) is the interim head coach and in his first year with the Wildcats... He also serves as the defensive coordinator and coaches the safeties.
• He was at his alma mater the past three seasons and has also gained Div. I experience at Iowa State (1994), Army (2000-02) and Eastern Washington (2003-07).
• Weber State is his first position as head coach.

• The Wildcats have faced a formidable schedule with two games against FBS teams (Fresno State, BYU) and a pair against ranked FCS squads (then No. 9 Eastern Washington, No.19 McNeese State).
• The Wildcats' are allowing an average of 512.8 yards of offense (116th in FCS) and 37.3 ppg (T-98th)... Offensively, they're scoring 17.5 ppg (89th).
• QB MIKE HOKE threw for 249 yards and a TD in Weber State's close 32-26 loss to current No. 7 Eastern Washington last weekend... WR XAVIAN JOHNSON was the benefactor of much of that, catching six passes for 133 yards.
• The Wildcats are averaging 301.8 yards in total offense, most of that (193.0) through the air.
• Weber State is allowing 4.0 sacks per game, 117th in the country... It gave up 10 to the FBS teams compared to three each for the FCS squads.
• S TONY EPPERSON has a team-best 29 tackles while LB WILLIE OKWUONU is tops with 20 solos... Epperson also has one of the team's two interceptions... Weber State has just four sacks but two of them are from LB OBI OWOH.
• Epperson is also contributing on special teams where his 47.7 punt average leads the country... He has 14 kicks over 50 yards and a long of 74.
• Epperson's punting has helped Weber State have a net punting average of 39.4 yards, ranking them 10th in FCS
• K SHAUN McCLAIN has made just two field goals but both have been at least 40 yards including a 44-yarder against EWU... He's 2 for 2 so far.
• Weber State has yet to score a point in the first quarter and has been outscored 79-6 in the first half... The Wildcats have only been outscored 70-64 after intermission.

• QB Randy Wright's 67-yard touchdown pass to WR Corey Galindo was a career-best for both players... Wright's 278 passing yards were his highest total since throwing for 319 against UTSA (8 games) last season.
• UC Davis scored the first 10 and last 10 points of the game while giving up 28 unanswered points in between.
• K Brady Stuart's 39-yard field goal in the first quarter was a career-best (albeit just the third game of his career) while his 41-yarder in the fourth quarter eclipsed that one.
• The Mustangs' 336 rushing yards are the most against UC Davis since Cal Poly had 427 in their 2008 matchup.
• WR Corey Galindo (3 rec., 100 yards) had his first 100-yard receiving day... His previous best was 76 yards at Montana State last season... Similarily, TE Taylor Sloat had career-highs for both receptions (4) and yards (60).
• UC Davis scored on its first two drives but then punted on five of its next eight drives, including four three-and-outs.
• The Aggies' 14-play, 97-yard drive was the program's longest since going 99 yards in 18 plays against Southern Utah (W,49-26) on Oct. 11, 2008... That drive ended with RB Brandon Tucker scoring from three yards... It took 9:36 off the clock.

• UC Davis has given up 15 sacks in its past three games but only two came at Cal Poly... Still, the Aggies are allowing 3.75 sacks per game, ranking them 114th in the FCS.
• They gave up seven at South Dakota State on Sept. 15, tying the seven allowed to Southern Utah in 2004 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.

• LB Byron Gruendl posted a game-high 15 tackles, including 12 solo, during Saturday's loss at Cal Poly... Both also represented career-highs for Gruendl whose previous best for total tackles came against North Dakota last year when he had 11..
• His previous best for solo stops was seven which he's done twice, most recently at Hawaii on Sept. 24, 2011.
• Gruendl leads UC Davis with 32 total tackles and 25 solo.

• LB Steven Pitts had double-digit tackles at South Dakota State on Sept. 15 when he posted 10, including eight assisted.
• That game equaled his total output from 2011, his redshirt freshman season.
• Pitts currently has 21 tackles, third-best on the team, and leads the Aggies with two quarterback hurries.
• His 16 solo tackles rank only behind Gruendl's 25.

• UC Davis has new adidas uniforms this season, including both gold and white pants, and white and blue jerseys.
• Against San Jose State on Sept. 15, the Aggies wore both white jerseys and pants... It's believed (at least according to former lonnngggggtime assistant coach Fred Arp) the first time UC Davis has worn white pants - rather than its traditional gold  - in at least the last 45 years.
• The Aggies also wore the all-white attire at Cal Poly last week.

• CB Jonathan Perkins had a 69-yard interception return at San Jose State on Sept. 8, his fifth career interception but the first he's returned for a touchdown.
• Perkins' interception for a TD was the program's first since CB Adam Cook took an 87-yard return to the house against Sacramento State on Nov. 3, 2007.

• Outside of a missed field against San Jose State on Sept. 8, the Aggies have not missed a scoring opportunity when getting in the red-zone.
• They are 9 for 10 on the season with most of the damage coming against Azusa Pacific when they scored all six times they crossed the 20 and finished with 34 points.
• UC Davis was 2 for 2 at Cal Poly last week... The Aggies' didn't get into the red-zone at South Dakota State on Sept. 15, but then again, neither did the Jackrabbits.
• Opponents are 10 of 13 against UC Davis but 12 of those tries came in two games - San Jose State and Cal Poly.

• UC Davis just finished three straight games away from Aggie Stadium, its longest stretch since opening the 2006 campaign with five consecutive road games.
• This three-game stretch was much easier than six years ago when the Aggies played in every timezone in the continental U.S. while facing Northern Colorado, TCU, Montana State, Youngstown State and Cal Poly.
• UC Davis went 1-4. 

• 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 41.2 ypg (32nd in FCS) while helping the Aggies net 39.3 yards (11th).
• Schmidt is currently ranked 14th among FCS punters for career average (40.2)... His 202 punts are third-most among active FCS punters.

• 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.

• QB Randy Wright threw for 194 yards at San Jose State on Sept. 8, pushing his career total past the 5,000-yard mark... He now has 5,436 total yards, moving past SCOTT BARRY (5,387 yds; 1982-84) for No. 10 all-time at UC Davis.
• Wright's 461 completions (8th) and 796 attempts (7th) are already in the top 10 while his 34 touchdowns are just three away from earning a spot on that list.
• He's currently ranked 12th among active FCS quarterbacks for passing yards per game (209.1), 13th for career yards, 11th for completions and 20th for TD's.



The Last Meeting
UC Davis9
Weber State20
September 25, 2010
Ogden, Utah
Second-Half Surge Pushes Wildcats Past Aggies, 20-9
Quarterback Cameron Higgins threw for 207 yards in the second half - including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Joe Collins in the fourth quarter - as host Weber State beat UC Davis 20-9 in a nonconference football game played before 10,221 fans on Saturday night at Stewart Stadium.


• UC Davis owns an all-time record of 489--371-33 (.566) 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.

• 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).

• UC Davis has four team captains this season in DE Bobby Erskine, FS Kevyn Lewis, C Ray Wilburn and G Sean Davies.

• 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.

• 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).

• Root Sports, a regional sports network of DirectTV and a partner with the Big Sky, will broadcast the Aggies' home game on Oct. 6 against No. 2 Montana State.
• The game is available through DirectTV... Other TV games availale for Aggie fans include Northern Arizona (FS Arizona) and Sacramento State (Comcast California).