UC Davis tries to avoid a three-game losing streak for the second consecutive year while trying to beat Montana State for the first time in four games... The Aggies are also hoping to avoid a 1-5 start for the first time since 1959 (they were 0-6 to start 1960)... UC Davis' difficult schedule is currently tied for the 10th-toughest, according to the NCAA... Montana State joins No. 2 Eastern Washington as FCS-ranked Aggie opponents so far... Stanford was ranked 11th when the teams met in the preseason and was one of two FBS opponents on the early season schedule along with Colorado State (currently 4-1)... Seventh-ranked Montana awaits a visit from UC Davis next week while Northern Arizona and Cal Poly - both receiving votes in national polls - are a bit down the schedule... The Aggies have been held to less than 100 rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time since playing Northern Arizona (91) and Portland State (78) in 2013... They've been held to double-digit rushing three times in five games... LB RUSSELL REEDER had a career-best 10 tackles at Portland State, eclipsing the seven he had at Nevada last season... UC Davis is among the least penalized teams in the country, ranking eighth in penalties per game (4.4) and 27th for penalty yards per game (45.5).
RADIO/INTERNET AUDIO COVERAGE
Saturday's game will be aired on KHTK-Radio (1140 AM)... Broadcasting veteran BARRY TOMPKINS (play-by-play) will join UC Davis alum SCOTT MARSH (analysis) and DOUG KELLY (analysis)... The pregame show begins at 3:30 p.m. and will be streamed (free) on www.ucdavisaggies.com... Student station KDVS-Radio (90.3 FM) will also air the game.
TELEVISION/INTERNET VIDEO COVERAGE
ROOT Sports will televise Saturday's game as part of its Big Sky Game of the Week package... It's the second of two straight Aggie games on ROOT Sports... As a result of the broadcast, a www.WatchBigSky.com video stream of Saturday's game will not be available.
Saturday marks the fourth all-time meeting between the Aggies and Bobcats, all of them coming since 2006... Montana State owns a 3-1 series lead and has won the last three... UC Davis' lone win came in dominating fashion in 2006 in Bozeman, 45-0... It was the third of five consecutive road games to start that season, a road swing that covered more than 10,000 miles and featured at least one game in each timezone... The Bobcats were ranked 20th... Former QB JON GRANT threw for 324 yds and 5 TDs, WR TONY KAYS had 10 receptions for 143 yards and three scores, and the defense held Montana State to just 194 total yards... The teams' last meeting at Aggie Stadium in 2012 - also on ROOT Sports - went 48-41 to then-No. 2 Montana State, despite a rally that saw UC Davis turn a 31-14 halftime deficit into a 38-31 lead entering the fourth quarter... The Bobcats led 48-41 as the Aggies drove in the final minutes but a fourth-down stop at Montana State's 30-yard squashed the comeback and upset bid... That was the only UC Davis home game in the series.
ABOUT MONTANA STATE
Montana State is coming off a 59-56 shootout win over Sacramento State last weekend, a game that featured 49 points in the fourth quarter alone... The Bobcats are averaging 41.5 ppg. (No. 6 in FCS) and 481.2 ypg. (13th) in total offense... QB DAKOTA PRUKOP is ranked sixth in both passing efficiency (173.0) and passing TDs (13) and is third in points-responsible-for (22.0) per game... He also has nine rushing TDs, ranking him fifth among all FCS players... Montana State's defense is ranked 104th nationally (469.3) and is allowing 34.3 ppg... Most of its opponents' yardage is coming through the air where the Bobcats' 306.2 ypg. average ranks 116th in FCS... P TREVOR BOLTON has been effective, posting a 45.7 average to lead the Big Sky and rank him third nationally... Prukop, whose father, Tom, played for UC Davis from 1985-87, threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 140 and scoring three more... He was named the FCS Offensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network... All five passing touchdowns went to different receivers.
THREE-DOT NOTES FROM THE PORTLAND STATE GAME
Portland State dominated possession during the first half, running more than twice as many plays (53-24) and posting more first downs (15-3)... The Vikings outgained UC Davis, 263-70, before halftime and held a 448-240 advantage for the game... They also ran 94 plays, the most against the Aggies since Nevada's 91 in the second game of 2013... LB STEVEN PITTS had 11 tackles, all of them in the first half, before leaving the game with injury... FB DEREK BALJEU's five-yard TD reception was the first score of his career... True freshman WR KEELAN DOSS caught a TD pass for the second consecutive game... P COLBY WADMAN put four of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line... He also had a long of 50 yards... WR JERMALE JEFFERSON ripped off a 20-yard run on the first play from scrimmage but was held to minus-3 yards on two subsequent carries... Ten different Aggies caught passes, led by four each from Doss and WR RAMON VARGAS... Vargas had a 43-yard reception that set up UC Davis at the five-yard line and preceded Baljeu's touchdown... Vargas had just one catch for nine yards entering this season... FS ZACH JONES and CB PATRICK WELLS each intercepted their first career passes... Wells returned his 16 yards.
AGGIES BEING STIFLED ON THIRD DOWN
Third down has not been kind for UC Davis which currently ranks 12th in the Big Sky with a 25.9-percent conversion rate... The Aggies have converted a conference-low 15 attempts on third down... Opponents, meanwhile, have converted 47.2 percent (34 of 72) of the time... UC Davis ranks 11th in the Big Sky in stopping third down.
SILVERIA CARRYING RUSHING LOAD.... AGAIN
RB COLTON SILVERIA led UC Davis in rushing as both a sophomore in 2012 (570 yards, 6 TDs) and as a junior in 2012 (590 yds, 3 TDs) before taking a backseat to RB GABE MANZANARES who had a monster season last year with 1,285 yards... Silveria had just six carries for 14 yards in 2013... With Manzanares slowed by injury at the start of this season, Silveria was called upon to provide the rushing punch... He responded with 92 yards on 14 carries against Fort Lewis College (including a 72-yard TD run) and then came back with 97 yards on 14 carries against Colorado State while adding another score... Silveria is averaging 51.4 ypg. this year and 5.0 yards per attempt... He is currently tied for 10th on the Aggies' career rushing list with 1,431 yards and is10th with 316 career attempts.
GALINDO NEARING CENTURY MARK IN CATCHES
WR COREY GALINDO has 99 career catches for 1,358 yards as he attempts to reach 100 career receptions... The senior standout led the Aggies with 33 catches and 598 yards as a sophomore in 2012 and has a team-best tying 13 grabs this season to go with 185 yards... His three touchdowns - all against Fort Lewis - rank him T-40th in the FCS this season... Among Galindo's big plays were a 72-yard TD reception at Eastern Washington in 2012 when he had a career-best 113 receiving yards... Galindo has a 62-yard TD reception this season... He was named All-Big Sky honorable mention as a sophomore in 2012.
TURNOVER BUG BITING THE PAST TWO GAMES
UC Davis enjoyed a plus-3 turnover margin through its first five games but has been even-steven with three giveaways and three takeaways the past two... It opened the year with three miscues at Stanford but then didn't have any against Fort Lewis College and Colorado State, bringing the total of errorless games under head coach RON GOULD to five... However, two fumbles and an interception the past two weeks have resulted in 10 points... The Aggies have scored a touchdown off the three turnovers it's gained in its past two games.
BIG PLAYS ALREADY ECLIPSING 2013
UC Davis didn't have a big-play offense last season with no plays covering more than 59 yards... Through four games, the Aggies have already picked up five plays of at least 62 yards including four from the line of scrimmage... Altogether, they've strung together 16 plays of at least 26 yards.
JERMALE JEFFERSON TURNS ON THE JETS
True freshman WR JERMALE JEFFERSON has made an immediate impact during the early part of his Aggie career... The speedster has reeled off three rushes of at least 34 yards, two of them for touchdowns, among his only 15 carries so far... He had TD runs of 43 and 68 yards against Fort Lewis and then posted a 34-yard gain against Eastern Washington last week... Jefferson's picked up 195 yards and two scores so far and is averaging an impressive 13.0 yards per carry... He has nine catches for 31 yards.
FBS ON SLATE FOR 10TH STRAIGHT YEAR
UC Davis is 2-12 since starting to play FBS teams regularly in 2005 and 3-11 against FBS/I-A programs since 1986 (W,45-41 vs. Pacific).(see right)
WRIGHT IS RIGHT-ON WITH KICK RETURNS
CB SHAMAWN WRIGHT has evolved into of the nation's leading kick returners, averaging 25.6 yards per return thus far... That ranks him 22nd in the FCS... His 461 total return yards (all on kickoffs) is 12th nationally for combined kick returns (punts/kickoffs)... Wright returned an 89-yarder against Fort Lewis for his first career TD kick return... It stands as the longest play for the Aggies this season... He has six returns of at least 26 yards and all six rank among the longest plays for UC Davis in 2014... Wright averaged 25.8 yards on 16 returns last year, had a long of 59 yards at Nevada and carries a 25.5 career average.
TRUE FRESHMAN MAKING THE GRADE
They haven't even attended their first classes at UC Davis yet but some true freshmen are already figuring prominently into the Aggies' game plans... Seven have seen significant playing time... WR JERMALE JEFFERSON has been a threat to score every time he touches the ball, averaging 13.0 yards per carry and scoring touchdowns of 68 and 43 yards... He has 195 yards on the ground in just 15 carries... WR KEELAN DOSS has 13 catches for 227 yards, including a long of 70 yards... TE NOLAN TOOLEY has moved into the offensive rotation, helping the Aggies up front... OL RAMSEY HUFFORD is providing depth along the line... DL JORDAN HOYT has five tackles, including a 0.5 TFL... CB ISIAH OLAVE has six solo tackles and seven overall... And DE AMONAI ITTAAEHAU has four early season tackles while seeing playing time on the defensive side of the ball... Last season, half of the Aggies' 16 true freshmen gained valuable game-experience.
PREVIOUSLY.... ON OCT. 11
UC Davis is 6-2 on Oct. 11 since 1963 when dates started being kept in the Aggie annals... The most recent win was a 49-26 victory before a sellout crowd at Aggie Stadium in 2008... In 2003, UC Davis held Western Oregon to just 97 total yards - the last time an opponent was held to under 100 yards - during a 27-7 victory... Other wins came against Chico State in 1986 (33-30) and 1962 (28-13), and Humboldt State (20-17, 1980) and Cal State Hayward (6-3, 1975)... The only to losses came at FBS member Idaho in 1997 (44-14) and Humboldt State in 1969 (6-0).
2013 POSTSEASON HONOR PARADE
The Big Sky honored 13 UC Davis players on its postseason awards list last fall with nine of them returning to this year's team... RB GABE MANZANARES, as mentioned, was selected the Newcomer of the Year and to the All-Big Sky third team, while Stuart was also a third-team pick... Earning honorable mention accolades were C JAY LUCHETTI, T IAN JOSEPH, FB DALTON TURAY, S CHARLES BOYETT (as a return specialist), LB STEVEN PITTS, Wright and Wadman... DE NICK KING was a second-team pick while CB JONATHON PERKINS was picked to the third team... Both graduated along with WR TOM HEMMINGSEN and TE TAYLOR SLOAT, who were also honorable mention... Returners Manzanares and Turay, T CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER and TE MARK MARTINDALE were recognized for distinction in the classroom, earning All-Academic honors from the Big Sky after posting GPAs of at least 3.20 while playing in at least half of the games.
MANZANARES A 1,000-YARD RUSHER AND THEN SOME
Five straight 100-yard games and seven overall last season by RB GABE MANZANARES helped him post the fifth-highest single-season rushing total in school history with 1,285 yards... Manzanares was the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Aggies since RB MATT MASSARI went for 1,274 yards in 2002... Manzanares only missed one game last season (Nevada)... Manzanares ranked 11th nationally in yards per game (116.3), 16th for total rushing yards (1,163) and was third in the Big Sky in both categories... He also caught 23 receptions for 290 yards, pushing his all-purpose yardage to 145.3 ypg.
GOULD HAS MENTORED TOP RUNNING BACKS
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, (Baltimore Ravens), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots), Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions) and Will Ta'ufo'ou (Jacksonville Jaguars).
The Aggies are 22-17 (.564) all-time at Aggie Stadium... Their best season at the stadium was a 5-1 mark in 2008... UC Davis has an all-time record of 498-386-33 (.563) dating back to its first season in 1915... 70.5 percent of the all-time wins have come since 1970: JIM SOCHOR (156), BOB FOSTER (30), BOB BIGGS (144) and RON GOULD (5)... UC Davis is in its 96th season of football...Gould is 6-11 overall: 0-2 in August, 2-5 in September, 2-3 in October and 2-1 in November, 3-5 at home, 3-6 on the road, 4-7 in day games, 2-4 in night games, and 5-5 in the Big Sky Conference... He is the 16th coach in the history of the program.
NOTABLE PROGRAM STREAKS
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)
AGGIES IN THE NFL
UC Davis currently has two players on NFL rosters - TE DANIEL FELLS and P COLTON SCHMIDT... Fells in his sixth NFL season and currently plays for the N.Y. Football Giants, his fourth club... He is in his first year with the Giants and has scored two touchdowns already... Fells, who played for UC Davis from 2003-05 while earning All-Great West Conference honors, has 93 career receptions as a pro for 1,093 yards and eight touchdowns... Schmidt was an All-Big Sky selection during his senior season in 2012 when he posted a school-record 44.5 avg... He spent the last two preseasons with the San Francisco 49ers before being winning the starting job prior to the Buffalo Bills' season opener.
COACHING TREE HAS MANY LIMBS
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 (Washington) 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 and was named this week as the head coach of the USA football team, Aggie player MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon) was a highly successful collegiate coach, former player NICK ALIOTTI was longtime 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 Paul, 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... Former Aggie assistant coach MIKE MOROSKI, who also spent time in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, is currently the head coach at the College of Idaho which is revived football and is playing its first season in 37 years in 2014.
The Aggies return to the road for the fourth time this season, traveling to Montana to take on the seventh-ranked Grizzlies for an 11 a.m. (PDT) start... It'll be the first matchup between the programs in Missoula since a close 29-24 defeat in 2008... Montana holds a 5-0 all-time series lead including a 42-7 win at Aggie Stadium in 2013.
Football crosses Causeway for annual rivalry game
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Doss sets new single-season record in home finale
at Sacramento State (2 p.m.)