UC Davis, Northern Colorado set for Big Sky clash
Oct. 13, 2015
UC DAVIS FOOTBALL GAME NOTES - Game 7: UC Davis (1-5, 1-2) at Northern Colorado (3-2, 1-2)
Sat., Oct. 17 • 12:05 p.m. (PDT) • KHTK (Sports 1140 AM) • Television (Comcast local to Colorado region)
Greeley, Colo. • Nottingham Field (8,500)
• UC Davis returns to the road, fresh off a convincing win over Northern Arizona that snapped a six-game losing streak and delivered the program the 500th win in its century-old existence.
• The Aggies are looking for their first road win of 2015 and their first since beating Cal Poly, 48-35, in the 10th game of the 2014 season.
• They’ve enjoyed success at Northern Colorado where they are 3-0, including a 34-18 win in head coach RON GOULD’s inaugural season in 2013... The teams are an even 2-2 in Davis.
• Now members of the Big Sky, the Aggies and Bears were members of the former Great West Conference from 2004-11.
• UC Davis remains one of the top FCS teams in possession time, averaging 34:56 to rank fourth nationally... That was helped by holding the ball a whopping 40:42 against Northern Arizona last week, the highest total since maintaining control for 39:47 at home against Northeastern (W, 28-10) in 2007.
• The Aggie defense remains tough on third down... It ranks 18th in the FCS at .329... Montana (6 for 19) and NAU (2 for 13) owned a combined .250 conversion percentage... The offense is doing well, meanwhile, when it’s faced with third down, ranking 36th (.421).
• QB Ben Scott ranks 14th nationally in passing TDs (11) while WR Chris Martin is 12th in the FCS in receiving TDs (5).
• K Brady Stuart has moved within two field goals of EDDIE LORETTO’s (1985-88) UC Davis career record of 47... Stuart hit No. 45 with a 38-yarder in the second quarter last week after having his streak of 10 consecutive made attempts stopped in the first quarter... Stuart is ranked first among active FCS kickers for career field goals and is 18th among all active collegiate kickers.
• UC Davis’ 497 total yards last week were its most this season, the first time the Aggies have outgained an opponent in 2015, and the team’s highest total since gaining 564 yards at Cal Poly last year.
• The Aggies didn’t turn the ball over last week for the second time this year and the first time since the opener at Nevada... They lowered their turnover deficit to -5... Only one opponent (South Dakota, 2) has had more than one miscue against UC Davis this season.
• The Aggies continue to battle the injury bug, trying to overcome the loss of five defensive starters in recent weeks.
• UC Davis nearly completed a fourth-quarter rally from a 17-point deficit before falling to Northern Colorado, 27-21, at Aggie Stadium on Nov. 1 last season.
• Trailing 24-7, the Aggies got closer on a 18-yd TD pass from QB Ben Scott to WR Ramon Vargas with nine minutes left, and then to within three points (24-21) after RB GABE MANZANARES’ 1-yard TD with 5:10 left.
• A UNC field goal in the final minute provided the final margin but not before the Aggies marched 49 yards to the UNC 14... Scott, however, was intercepted by Trevor Douglass in the endzone, ending the threat.
• Scott threw for 301 yards and 2 TDs, Vargas caught nine passes for 122 yards and two scores, and FS CHARLES BOYETT had 10 tackles... The Aggies were held to just 51 rushing yards.
NOTES FROM NAU
• UC Davis set a season-high for first downs with 27 (22 vs. Nevada was previous) and had more than its opponent for the first time in 2015.
• The Aggies set season-highs for rushing yards (208), attempts (48) and rushing average (4.3)... They’re 6.0 avg. for all plays was also a season-high.
• UC Davis held the ball for at least 11 minutes in two quarters and at least 10 minutes in three for a total of 40:42, its highest total since 2007.
• The Aggies scored 14 points off turnovers, including a 51-yard TD pass from QB Ben Scott to WR Ramon Vargas in the first quarter that followed S DARRYL GRAHAM’s forced fumble and DT KYLE DeVAUGHN’s 19-yd return.
• RB Manusamoa Luuga (96 yds) and RB Joshua Kelley (94 yds) nearly became the Aggies’ first dual 100-yd rushers since Colton Silveria (120) and Marquis Nicolis (105) at Idaho State in 2012.
• LB TRAVON BROOKS had a career-high nine tackles while LB Russell Reeder also had nine, just one off his career-best (10 at PSU in ‘14).
• UC Davis chewed 7:56 off the clock in the fourth quarter on a 13-play, 71-yd drive, capped by Luuga’s 1-yd TD plunge with 2:47 to play that made it 38-17... It was Luuga’s second touchdown of the game, which is a career-first for him.
• Besides leading the team in rushing, Luuga had a team-high five catches, adding 62 receiving yards for 158 all-purpose yards overall... Vargas paced UC Davis with 75 receiving yards on just three catches.
• The Aggies led after the first quarter (14-7) for the first time this season as well as after three quarters, (31-17), another first.
• QB BEN SCOTT’s 289 passing yards were a season-high and the fourth-highest of his 13-game career... His 20 completions marked his eighth career game with at least that many... Scott’s 20.3 completions per game this season rank him 20th in FCS.
• UC Davis had a season-high 83 plays.
• The defense posted five pass-breakups, its highest total of the season.
SECONDARY HAS BIG DAY
• The Aggies are ranked fourth in the Big Sky and 35th nationally in passing yards allowed (193.3), despite facing injuries throughout the secondary.
• Depth has helped save UC Davis and that was evident against NAU... While the Lumberjacks had 265 yards and 3 TDs, they were met with staunch defense when it counted the most.
• Freshman CB Vincent White had a team-high 2 PBUs – including one on fourth down – while UC Davis picked up a season-high five overall.
• SS Darryl Graham had eight tackles and contributed more by forcing a fumble against QB CASE COOKUS that was returned 19 yards by DT Kyle DeVaughn, just one play prior to QB BEN SCOTT’s 51-yd TD pass to WR Ramon Vargas.
FIRST HOMECOMING WIN...
• The Aggies’ 38-24 win over NAU was not only its first in four all-time games against the Lumberjacks but snapped a four-game homecoming losing streak.
• Since beating UT-San Antonio, 38-17, in 2011, UC Davis had lost to Montana State (2012, 2014) and Montana (2013).
NOT PLAYING FLAG FOOTBALL
• After 21 penalties for 176 yards over their first three games, the Aggies have responded with just seven penalties for 68 over their last three.
• That’s helped them rank in the top 20 for fewest flags per game (13th, 4.67) and fewest yards per game (16th, 40.83).
• RB Joshua Kelley is among several true freshman making their presence felt for UC Davis in 2015... He’s ranked 10th nationally in kickoff returns (30.0 avg.), with a long of 55 yards, and is second on the team with 206 rushing yards, and first with a 4.5 avg.
• RB MITCHELL LAYTON is second on the team with a 4.2 avg and WR Brandyn Lee has four catches for 49 yards... S Ryan Parenteau has 19 tackles, a 15-yd fumble return and has forced a fumble... CB Vincent White has a team-high 4 PBUs, including three against NAU last week... FB Ethan Hicks has seen significant time opening up holes for the running backs and has a 20-yard reception.
TIGHT ENDS STEPPING UP
• UC Davis has been without TE Zach Boman the past two games due to injury but his backups have helped pick up the slack.
• Senior Atlas Smith had two catches for 30 yards against Northern Arizona last weekend after hauling in a 31-yarder against Montana a week earlier.
• Junior Nehemiah Winston scored on an acrobatic 25-yd reception from QB Ben Scott against the Lumberjacks and has five catches for 63 yards.
• Sophomore Nolan Tooley has been a key blocker for UC Davis and has five receptions for 24 yards.
MARTIN MAKING MOST OF IT
• WR Chris Martin has caught 19 passes for 368 yards and five touchdowns with his latter two numbers leading the team... All three, however, have already buried the 13 receptions for 117 yards and 1 TD he had over the first two years of his career.
• Martin’s 19.37 average per catch is ranked 21st among all FCS receivers and third in the Big Sky.
• Martin’s average has been helped by two long TD receptions... He caught a 75-yarder from QB Ben Scott against South Dakota – the Aggies’ longest since 2004 – and then had a 69-yard score at Hawai’i a week later, both of them eclipsing his previous long of 27 yards in 2013 at Idaho State.
• Those two games featured back-to-back 100-yard efforts by Martin (121-USD, 123-UH).
PAYDIRT IN RED-ZONE
• The good news is UC Davis is one of the most efficient FCS teams in the red-zone, ranking 19th overall and second in the Big Sky at .941 while converting 16 of 17 opportunities.
• The “not-so-good news” – and it’s relative since they ARE picking up points – is the Aggies have had to settle for field goals five times after staring at 1st-and-goal opportunities.
• The tide turned against NAU with the Aggies capitalizing for scores on all three trips inside the 20, and all three resulting in TDs... That changed frustration over the first give games as described below:
• MONTANA - 1st down at 1. Key: no yards on 2 plays before QB Ben Scott was sacked by DE TYRONE HOLMES. Result: 20-yd FG by Brady Stuart.
• NORTH DAKOTA - 1st down at 2. Key: 2 rushes for -1 yards, incomplete pass. Result: 19-yd FG by Stuart.
• HAWAI’I - 1st down at 3. Key: Two rushes for -2 yds, incomplete pass. Result: 21-yd FG by Stuart... 1st down at 6. Key: delay of game penalty. Result: 27-yd FG by Stuart.
• NEVADA - 1st down at 4. Key: false start penalty. Result: 26-yd FG by Stuart.
INJURY BUG BITES AGGIES
• UC Davis skated through fall camp with minimal injury concerns and looked good through two games... But, how have times changed.
• Five starters have been sidelined the last four games... CB Shamawn Wright and his replacement CB Isiah Olave have gone down; S Keleen Culberson and LB Ryan Bua have joined them... Key reserve LB Artice Nelson has also been sidelined... On the offensive side, TE Zach Boman and reserve RB Justin Williams have each missed the last two games... WR ALEX CANNON was a late scratch against Montana but returned for a big game (3 rec., 43 yds) against NAU.
NCAA STAT LEADERS
Individual top 50:
• K Brady Stuart - FG%: 9th (.889); FG/gm: 16th (1.33).
• QB Ben Scott - Comp.%: 30th (.613); Comp./gm: 20th (20.3); Passing TDs: 14th (11); Passing yds: 17th (1,371); Passing ypg: 32nd (228.5); Pts. resp. for: 25th (72); Passing eff.: 131.4.0 (44th)
• DE Walter Earnest - Fum. recovered: T-31st (1).
• LB Xavier Griggs - Fum. recovered: T-31st (1).
• DT Kyle DeVaughn - Fum. recovered: T-31st (1).
• RB Joshua Kelley - Kick Ret.: 10th (30.0).
,• WR Chris Martin - Rec. yds: 47th (368); Rec. TDs: 12th (5); Yds/rec.: 21st (19.4).
Team top 40:
• Passing yds. allowed: 35th (193.3)
• Passing yds.: 37th (241.8)
• 3rd down conv.: 36th (.421)
• 3rd down defense: 18th (.329)
• 4th down def.: 19th (.364)
• Time of possession: 4th (34:56)
• Completion pct.: 28th (.615)
• Fewest penalties: 29th (28)
• Fewest penalties/game: 13th (4.7)
• Fewest penalty ypg.: 16th (40.8)
• Red-zone offense: 10th (.941)
• First downs: 24th (118)
• Blocked kicks allowed: 39th (1)
STUART NEARING RECORD
• K Brady Stuart opened 2015 by making his first seven field goal attempts – and 10 straight going back to the end of last season – before finally missing on a 46-yarder last week against Northern Arizona... He came back, however, to nail a 38-yarder to give UC Davis a 17-10 lead in the second quarter.
• His FG last weekend gave him eight for the season (three more than all of last season) and pushed his career total to 45 and into sole possession of second place on the Aggies’ career list behind school-record holder EDDIE LORETTO (47, 1985-88).
• Stuart already owns the single-season record with 17 in 2013 when he was All-Big Sky third team, is the active FCS leader in career field goals and is 17th among all active college kickers.
• Stuart is also is ranked nationally in FG pct. (9th, .889) and FG/game (1.33) this season.
• His season-long is 43 yards (vs. Montana) while his career-best is 47 (vs. Portland State, 2013)... Stuart is also fourth on the Aggies’ career scoring list (243 points).
• OL Parker Smith and SS Keleen Culberson will serve as team captains during the 2015 season... It is each of their first years serving in the leadership role.
• With Culberson injured, three other players are serving the role with Parker each game... WR ALEX CANNON, DT Kyle DeVaughn and LB Russell Reeder will join Smith as captains for this week’s game at Northern Colorado.
STAFF PHOTO GETS NEW SMILES
• Head coach Ron Gould welcomed three new faces to the coaching staff photo and five new smiles overall with the addition of WES NURSE (cornerbacks), JIM CHAPIN (running backs) and David Braun (def. line) during the winter.
• Nurse was on the Aggie staff in 2011 before leaving and returning, Chapin was most recently at Indiana Univ. (Pennsylvania), and Braun spent the last four years at his alma mater of Winona State (Minn.).
• Also joining the Aggies are Matt Ulrich (def. quality control) and Darren Ervin (spec. teams quality control; dir. of player personnel).
NEW STADIUM TURF
• Aggie Stadium opened for business in 2007 and has new artificial turf for the first time since... Shaw Sports Turf was installed over the summer, providing a marked difference to the FieldTurf that preceded it.
• Most notably, the new turf is 3/4-inch shorter (2” vs. 2.75”) while the turf inlay is equal parts sand and rubber, compared to the all-rubber inlay previously.
• Visually, the turf alternates shades of green every five yards, except for a 10-yard stretch of dark green at midfield that serves as the background for the traditional Mustang C logo.
• The endzones are blue with “Vegas gold” lettering... The campus’ official UC Davis wordmark is in the south endzone while “Aggies” is in the north.
• The 105,000-square foot playing surface, which is also home to the Aggies’ women’s lacrosse team and features its playing lines, was installed by ProSpectra Contract Flooring and was funded through the Facilities And Campus Enhancement Initiative (F.A.C.E.) passed by undergraduates in 1999.
• The Aggies posted an NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 974 to lead the Big Sky Conference for the third consecutive year... The distinction earned them an APR Award from the FCS Athletics Directors Assocition for the third straight year as well.
• 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 four straight).
• The APR measures student-athlete retention and eligibility and helps provide a real-time mark of classroom performance.
ARP CONTINUES GAME STREAK
• Fred Arp coached the defensive line at UC Davis from 1967-2007, becoming not only one of the most beloved Aggie coaches in school history, but turned out some of the best players the program has ever seen.
• The purveyor of “Club Fred” – as his players called their position group – only missed one game as a coach and that was for the birth of his son, Ben.
• Otherwise, Arp was perfect on the sidelines and that streak continues to this day... Saturday marks his 427th consecutive Aggie game that he’s attended.
• Arp was also a winner of the AFCA Div. II Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
GOULD PRODUCES RBs
• 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.
• Currently, his former players form a ‘who’s who’ of NFL standouts: Marshawn Lynch (Seattle), Shane Vereen (New York 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.
• 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.
• Did we say ‘thank you’? Consider it said.
AGGIE REACHES 500TH WIN
• UC Davis picked up an elusive victory when it downed NAU last week, giving it 500 in the 100-year history of the program. The Aggies had been stuck on 499 since beating Cal Poly in the 10th game of last season, a span covering six games.
• UC Davis did not play games in 1918 or from 1943-45 and have used 16 head coaches to amass those wins... JACK GLASCOCK (1-2; 1917) has the fewest while JIM SOCHOR (156-41-5) has the most.
• Some notable streaks have been associated with the UC Davis football program through the years:
• 37 - Consecutive winning seasons from 1970-2006... The first 35 came when the Aggies were officially playing as a Div. II program and still stands as the Div. II record.
• 20 - Consecutive years (1971-1993) of either winning outright or sharing a conference championship during UC Davis’ tenure in the Far Western Conference, Northern California Athletic Conference and American West Conference.
• 442 - Consecutive games from 1969-2010 that the Aggies had at least 200 yards of total offense.
PRO FOOTBALL CONNECTIONS
• UC Davis currently has two players in the NFL and another in the CFL.
• TE Daniel Fells is currently with the New York Giants where he had six catches for 60 yards this year... He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 5 due to a staph infection and has been enduring a well-chronicled fight.... He’s played for five different teams since breaking into the league in 2006.
• Colton Schmidt is in his second season as the starting punter for the Buffalo Bills and earned rave reviews from head coach Rex Ryan following the team’s season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts... Schmidt averaged a career-high 50.4 yards on five punts in the game and is averaging an 48.5 through his first five.
• Neither Fells nor Schmidt were drafted after their UC Davis careers... Schmidt had training camp stints with the San Francisco 49ers in both 2013 and 2014 while Fells broke in with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.
• Up north, WR Bakari Grant has 25 catches for 389 yards and 4 TDs for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season... He has 232 receptions for 2,924 yards and 16 TDs since joining the league in 2011. For the record, the last UC Davis player drafted into the NFL was QB J.T. O’SULLIVAN in 2002.
AGGIES, ROTC FORM BOND
• UC Davis players carry an American flag and an axe (for special teams player of the week) when entering the field... They also a flag representing the Forged Gold Battalion ROTC at UC Davis.
• The ROTC and the Aggies formed a bond during the preseason when they combined for leadership “boot camp” on Sunday, Aug. 9.
• The players had been told they’d have Sundays off during preseason camp but were then told the night of Aug. 8 to report to Toomey Field at 5 a.m. the next morning... It was there that they learned and experienced the dedication and leadership of the Army ROTC.
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