Aggies Return to Road to Face Southern Utah

Mark Martindale

Oct. 1, 2013

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

UC Davis (1-4, 1-0) at Southern Utah (4-1, 1-0) 

Saturday, Oct. 5 • 12:05 pm (PDT) • Cedar City, Utah
Eccles Coliseum (8,500; Hellas Matrix Turf)
TV - None
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 11:30 am
Live Video: (Free)
Live Audio: (Free)

Series Record: UC Davis leads 10-6
Last Meeting: Oct. 29, 2011; SUU won, 34-3
Last Meeting Location: Cedar City, Utah
Longest Aggie Win Streak: 4 games  
Longest SUU Win Streak: 3 games (current)
Last Aggie Win: 49-26 (10/11/08 at Davis)
Last Thunderbirds Win: 2011

UC Davis returns to the road for the first since Sept. 7 when it visits a familiar opponent in Southern Utah... The Aggies and Thunderbirds met every year from 2004-11 before taking a break from their series last season... This will be the second straight game in Cedar City, Utah, between the programs... UC Davis won its conference opener last week for the first time since 2010 when it was a member of the Great West Conference... UC Davis and Southern Utah are both previous members of the Great West Conference before both joining the Big Sky in 2012; the Aggies as affiliate members for football only and the T-Birds for all sports... K Brady Stuart kicked a career-high tying three field goals (36, 34, 20 yds) against Idaho State last weekend and was named the ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Conference Co-Special Teams Player of the Week... It was the Aggies' first league award this season... RB Gabe Manzanares rushed for 208 yards against the Bengals, the team's first 200-yard game since RB Matt Massari (221 yds) in 2002... Last week's win was the first for Ron Gould who is a head coach - at any level - for the first time.

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... The pregame show begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be streamed (free) on KHTK's call will be simulcast on

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

UC Davis and Southern Utah didn't play the first game in their series until 1993 but their 16-game rivalry is the fourth-largest on the Aggies' schedule this season... They played eight times between 1993-2000 and then resumed in 2004 to play each year through 2011... UC Davis leads 10-6 but is just 3-5 in Cedar City, including a 34-3 loss at Eccles Coliseum two years ago in their most recent meeting... The Thunderbirds held the Aggies to just 193 total yards, including just 43 on the ground, while rushing for 251 yards themselves and gaining 489 total yards...The Aggies won four straight between 2005-08, averaging 37.5 ppg., and winning by an average margin of 18.8 ppg... It was UC Davis' longest winning streak in the rivalry... Southern Utah has had the decided upper hand since then, winning the past three by an average of 27.7 ppg., while scoring 48.3 ppg... QB Matt Engle threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns in UC Davis' last win at SUU in 2007, 41-21.

Southern Utah's only loss is a 48-10 defeat to NCAA Div. I FBS member Washington State... SUU has won its past two games to help it gain more votes for The Sports Network poll where they are unofficially ranked 29th (listed among others receiving votes)... The T-Birds bring the 10th-ranked FCS rushing defense (98.0 ypg) into the game and the 28th-ranked defense (337.6 ypg) overall... They were especially effective during last week's 27-21 win at Northern Colorado, allowing just four net yards on 21 carries... UNC managed just 273 total yards... Southern Utah also had a tough time rushing the ball, gaining just 53 yards on 34 attempts and posting  322 yards overall... WR FATU MOALA had a big game, catching seven passes for 120 yards and pushing his season total to 303 yards on 26 receptions... WR RAYSEAN MARTIN leads the team with 304 yards (4.2 avg.) while also finding the endzone five times... QB AARON CANTU has completed 71 percent of his passes, putting him sixth nationally... Southern Utah is averaging 309.2 total yards, ranking 98th in FCS... LB ZAK BROWNING, last year's Big Sky Freshman of the Year, has a team-high 43 tackles while LB MATT HOLLEY has 37 including 7.5 TFLs... DE JAMES COWSER has already picked up 9.5 TFLs including 3.0 sacks... K COLTON COOK has made 7 of 8 field goal attempts and has a long of 58... His only miss came from 51 yards... P BROCK MILLER is averaging 43.1 yards and is 19th among FCS punters.

UC Davis beat the Bengals for the second straight year and improved to 2-0 all-time against them... QB Randy Wright threw for 201 yards (14-22-0) and two touchdowns after relieving starter Jimmy Laughrea in the first quarter... WR TJ King had career-bests with four catches for 70 yards... FB Dalton Turay had a career-long 40-yard reception (previous: 15 yds in 2012) in the first quarter, setting up the second of K Brady Stuart's three field goals... Six different receivers had at least two catches and eight had receptions overall... WR Tom Hemmingsen's 51-yard punt return was the Aggies' longest since WR Jesse Oliva went 60 yards against Northern Colorado (W, 30-20) on Oct. 2, 2004... Freshman P COBY WADMAN had his best punting day so far, averaging 40.5 yards on six kicks... The Aggie defense allowed just 112 rushing yards, second only this season to the 66 gained by Northern Arizona... UC Davis was 7 for 17 (.412) on third-down, its best performance this year, while holding Idaho State to just 4 of 20 (.200)... The Aggies won the time-of-possession battle for the third straight game (32:47-27:13)... They also averaged a season-best 5.2 yards per carry...LB Steven Pitts (5 tackles) had UC Davis' first sack since DE Nick King had three against Northern Arizona... The Aggies scored on three straight possessions in the first half and four of their first six... The only blemishes were a missed field goal on their opening drive and a punt midway through the second... Their final two scoring drives in the fourth quarter totaled 132 yardS on just 10 plays... UC Davis had leads at the end of the first quarter and at halftime for the first time this season... RB Gabe Manzanares' 50-yard run in the fourth quarter was the first non-TD of that distance since RB Colton Silveria scamped 66 yards against Sacramento State on Nov. 19, 2011.

UC Davis did not have an interception over its first three games but the defensive backfield has been busy since... S AARYN JONES, CB Jonathan Perkins and S Charles Boyett each had interceptions against Portland State, the Aggies' first picks of the season, while Jones added another one with his late grab against Idaho State last week... 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 against Portland State 27 yards. 

The Aggies' 30 points against the Bengals are a season-high and nearly eclipsed the 34 total points they had entering the game... The 34 points over their first four games were the program's 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.

RB Gabe Manzanares might be new to the Aggie program in 2013 but he's making a name for himself early... He rushed for 208 yards (34 carries) in UC Davis' win over Idaho State, becoming the first Aggie to go over 200 since RB Matt Massari did it twice in 2002 (237 vs. Abilene Christian, 221 vs. Saint Mary's)... Manzanares' mark ranks T-10th all-time at UC Davis, matching PHIL WINTZ's 1952 total at Southern Oregon... Manzanares is averaging 92.8, ranking him 37th among FCS backs.

K Brady Stuart was named the Big Sky Conference Co-Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday after kicking a career-high tying three field goals against Idaho State... After missing from 21 yards early, Stuart rebounded to connect from 34, 36 and 20 yards - all in the first half - while also making all three of his extra points... He shared the honor with K COLTON COOK of Southern Utah... Stuart is the Aggies' first Big Sky honoree this season and the second since UC Davis joined the conference last year (QB Randy Wright, Oct. 15, 2012).

Opponents have been having a rough time converting third downs against UC Davis this season... The Aggies currently rank 15th nationally and lead the Big Sky in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert just 30.7 pct. of the time... Nevada was 11 for 19, but subtract that from the total and the remaining four teams are just 12 of 56 (21.4 pct.).

The Aggies gained 455 total yards against Idaho State, nearly 200 more than their season average of 266.5 entering the game... It was the first time they've gone over 300 yards, came with a season-high 74 plays and resulted in a season-best 6.1 yards per play... UC Davis also set season-highs for average yards per rush (5.2) and pass (7.5).

WR Tom Hemmingsen caught a season-high nine passes for 86 yards against Portland State, pushing him over the 1,000-yard mark for his career... He added 38 more in last week's win and now has 1,039... He leads the team with 25 receptions for 277 yards... Hemmingsen, who had a foot injury last year and did not play, was the Aggies' leading receiver in 2011 (50 rec., 622 yards), earning him All-Great West Conference first-team honors.

UC Davis was 0-4 this season for the first time since 1965 when it turned things around by winning four of its final six that season... Last weekend's win avoided the Aggies' first 0-5 start since 1960 when the team finished 0-8-1.

The Aggies equaled their season output in red-zone visits with their seven against Idaho State... They were just 4 of 7 for 20 points entering the game but went 6 of 7 against the Bengals, finishing with 30 points... They had three touchdowns (after just two at game's start) and their only missed opportunity was a 21-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter... For the year, UC Davis is 10 of 14 (.714) for 50 points.

The Sept. 21matchup 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. 

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)
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) 
Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions) 
Will Ta'ufo'ou (Jacksonville Jaguars)

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 27 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 27 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 37 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 16 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.

Sept. 30 - Offense: RB Cody KIRK, Montana State; Defense: DL Darnell SANKEY, Sacramento State; Special Teams: K Brady Stuart, UC Davis; K Colton COOK, Southern Utah.

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 2-2 since 1962 when playing on Oct. 5 with two of the games coming in the Causeway Classic with Sacramento State and both featuring large crowds at Hughes Stadium... The Hornets beat the Aggies 50-18 in 1991 - their largest win in the series - before 19,000 fans before UC Davis enacted a measure of revenge in 2002 with its 38-21 win in front of 15,892 fans... The other two matchups on that date came at Toomey Field... Whittier College posted a 17-14 victory in 1963 while the Aggies rolled past Humboldt State 45-14 in 1985.

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 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. 

After spending this week in Cedar City, Utah, the Aggies will return to host Montana in UC Davis' annual homecoming game... It'll be the first matchup between the teams since Montana beat the Aggies 17-10 on Sept. 12, 2009... The Grizzlies lead the all-time series, 4-0.