UC Davis (1-3, 0-1) at No. 4/5 E. Washington (3-1, 1-0)
Saturday, October 1, 2016 • 1 p.m.
Roos Field (8,600) • Cheney, Wash.
• UC Davis returns to the road for the third time this season and for the first of two consecutive weeks, when the Aggies travel to Cheney, Wash., to face Eastern Washington for the first time since 2014... They’re 0-3 in games at EWU and 0-4 against the Eagles overall.
• The Eagles are the third Aggie opponent so far that’s been ranked at the time of the game, joining Oregon (FBS) and Southern Oregon (NAIA)... EWU is checking in at No. 4 by FCS Stats (media, SIDs) and No. 5 by FCS Coaches.
• EWU is the highest-ranked FCS foe for UC Davis since facing, well, No. 2 Eastern Washington on Sept. 27, 2014.
• The Aggies have lost 13 straight games to FCS-ranked opponents although Northern Arizona was the top team under “others receiving votes” in the FCS Stats poll when UC Davis upset the Lumberjacks, 38-24, last year... The Aggies’ last win over a ranked team was in 2010 against No. 19/18 Cal Poly, 22-21, in San Luis Obispo.
• Speaking of the Mustangs, UC Davis came back from a 21-0 halftime deficit in that game, which was the program’s largest comeback in Div. I to at least tie an opponent until rallying from 32-10 down against Weber State last week to forge a late 35-35 deadlock.
• The largest come-from-behind win during that same timeframe was in 2009 when the Aggies turned a 28-17 fourth-quarter deficit at Portland State into a 34-31 win... They’re biggest comeback to win in the last 11 years? How about flipping a 17-0 hole into a 20-17 victory at Stanford in 2005.
• UC Davis has 10 takeaways this season (6 fum, 4 int.) which is just one shy of the 11 it had all of last year... Additionally, its four picks are one more than the Aggies’ 2015 total... They’re ranked T-10th in turnover margin (1.5 pg) in 2016.
• RB JOSHUA KELLEY’s 91-yard kickoff return, part of a night in which he returned four kicks for 143 yards, was the fifth-longest in school history, third-longest that ended up in a TD, and vaulted him to 11th in the FCS for return average (29.1).
• The Aggies’ defense is allowing 528.0 ypg. but gave the offense a chance by holding Weber State to just 57 yards in the fourth quarter and forcing punts on 5 of 6 drives during a portion of the second half.
• WR Luke Williams, whose two career TD catches have come the last two games, had three catches for 67 yards last week; all of it on a late fourth-quarter drive that resulted in his 14-yard TD from QB Ben Scott that was initially ruled out but was overturned by instant replay.
ALL-TIME SERIES/LAST MEETING
• The Eagles hold a 4-0 all-time record against the Aggies, including a 3-0 mark in Cheney, Wash.... EWU won 31-28 in 2012 during the teams’ last meeting at Roos Field.
• The Eagles were ranked No. 2 in the FCS when they came into Aggie Stadium in 2014 but were only able to lead 9-7 at halftime... However, QB VERNON ADAMS hit WR COOPER KUPP for a 61-yard pass and ran for a 4-yard TD during a 21-point third quarter as EWU went on for a 37-14 win.
THE HARRELL CONNECTION
• Freshman WR Jared Harrell will have a homecoming of sorts when he visits Eastern Washington this weekend thanks to his brother, Julian, who is a senior on the Eagles’ men’s basketball team.
• The senior previously played at Penn and City College of San Francisco before transferring to EWU... He was a Big Sky All-Academic honoree last year who averaged 9.3 ppg. and 2.8 rpg.
• For the record, Jared Harrell last played basketball as a sophomore at St. John Bosco HS, seeing limited action.
SCOTT, WILLIAMS WITH TD DRIVE
• WR Luke Williams had three catches for just 27 yards entering last week’s game against Weber State... He also had a TD against Wyoming on Sept. 17, the first of his career.
• He essentially surpassed his season totals in 56 seconds against the Wildcats as he and QB Ben Scott teamed for all three plays of the game-tying TD drive.
• Scott found him on a crossing pattern for a 40-yard gain on the first play, hauled in a 13-yard gain to the WSU 14 on the next, and then saved his best for last by barely getting his feet inbounds while falling out of bounds in the endzone on Scott’s perfectly thrown ball.
• Williams was initially ruled out but the call was reversed to a TD by instant replay officials, preserving a memorable moment for the seniors.
LUUGA GRINDING OUT YARDS
• RB Manusamoa Luuga enjoyed a hot start to 2016 by scoring three second-half TDs at Oregon and then adding two more against Southern Oregon when he also had a career-high 145 rushing yards.
• He’s found things a bit tougher the last two weeks, being held to 84 yards on 31 carries but is still ranked high in the FCS for rushing TDs (6th, 5) and rushing yards (30th, 325).
• Luuga has 1,307 career rushing yards and 73 catches for 536 yards... He was the Aggies’ leading receiver last season with 51 catches.
DOSS COMING ON STRONG
• Sophomore WR Keelan Doss is enjoying his first action since 2014 after sitting out last year because of injury... So far, he has 24 catches for 348 yards and 4 TDs.
• Included was his first two career 100-yard games with both of them coming against the Aggies’ FBS opponents: (116 at Oregon; 104 at Wyoming).
• Doss has a 50-yard reception against Oregon, a 2-TD game against Wyoming and has scored in his last three games, including twice against Weber State last weekend.
• The Aggies are ranked 21st nationally and fifth in the Big Sky in red-zone efficiency with a .933 conversion rate... They’ve been good on 14 of 15 tries.
• It was the same but different last year with UC Davis finishing T-5th (.906) in the FCS but only 20 of their 29 scores (.690) were touchdowns... This year, the Aggies have found pay dirt in 12 of their 14 scores (.857)... That’s the best TD rate of any team in the top 22 with at least 10 scores.
OFFENSE PRODUCTION UP
• UC Davis ranks 21st in the FCS in scoring (34.3), 15th in passing offense (291.3) and 36th in total offense... Last year, it finished 83rd (22.3), 42nd (236.4) and T-74th (358.2), respectively.
SCOTT, VARGAS BIG AGAINST SOU
• WR Ramon Vargas became the first Aggie since WR TONY KAYS had 212 against Cal Poly in 2005 to record 200 receiving yards in a game, when he had six catches for 208 yards against Southern Oregon on Sept. 10.
• Vargas had a career-best 65-yard TD catch from QB Ben Scott in the third quarter and later had a 64-yard reception... His yards rank fourth all-time for a single-game in program history.
• Of course, the other half of those yards meant a big day for Scott, who threw for a career-high 381 yards (22-29-0) and four touchdowns.
• It was Scott’s second straight 300-yard game (he had 303 at Oregon in the opener), marked the second time he’s had back-to-back 300-yard games, and was the fourth one he’s had overall.
• His previous best effort was against Montana State in 2014 during his first career start when he threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns.
QUARTET OF PICKS VS. RAIDERS
• UC Davis ranked 122 out of 122 teams last year with just three interceptions for the entire season... It was part of a year in which the Aggies had just 11 takeaways.
• UC Davis last had four interceptions in a game in 2011 against San Diego... It’s had three picks four times since then: vs. Weber State and Sacramento State in 2012, against Portland State in 2013 and versus Fort Lewis in 2014.
SCHNEIDER MOVES TO BLIND SIDE
• 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 (33 of 34).
• 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.
• Schneider has been a big reason why the Aggies have allowed just five sacks so far and are ranked 29th among all FCS teams with a 1.25 avg.
• Four of the sacks have come against the FBS opponents with Oregon and Wyoming getting two each.
• UC Davis was selected 13th 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.
RECRUITING CLASSES RANK HIGH
• HEAD COACH Ron Gould was regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters during his long tenure at Cal and he’s brought that prowess to UC Davis.
• His most recent recruiting class this past February was ranked No. 10 among all FCS and tops in the Big Sky by Saturday Blitz, and was No. 17 by Hero Sports (third in the Big Sky).
• Gould’s 2014 class was comprised of 12 players rated two stars by Scout.com.
GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM
• 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 Div. I in 2007-08.
NFL RBs FIND STARTS WITH GOULD
• 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)
AGGIE COACHING TREE BLOOMS
• 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.
COMING UP NEXT
• UC Davis stays on the road for a second straight week – its only stretch on the schedule of at least two straight road games – when the Aggies visit Southern Utah for a 6 p.m. (PDT) game next week.
• The Thunderbirds, who advanced to the FCS playoffs last year, are coached by former Aggie RB DEMARIO WARREN... Warren is in his first year lead SUU after serving as its defensive coordinator.
• UC Davis is 11-7 all-time against the Thunderbirds, including a 4-5 mark in Cedar City (5,846’ elevation)... The Aggies posted a 21-3 win in their last visit there with SUU gaining revenge in Davis last year, 34-6.
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