UC Davis Faces No. 16/15 Lumberjacks Saturday

Marquis Nicolis rushed for 105 yards last week at Idaho State.
 
Marquis Nicolis rushed for 105 yards last week at Idaho State.
 

Oct. 17, 2012

Game Notes: UC Davis | Northern Arizona | Big Sky
Live: Live: Audio | Video | Gameday Info

Game 8
UC Davis (3-4, 2-2 Big Sky)
at
No. 16/15 Northern Arizona (5-1, 4-0 Big Sky)

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
4:05 p.m. (PDT)  • Flagstaff, Ariz.
Walkup Skydome (12,000)
KHTK (1140 AM)  • www.ucdavisaggies.com 
Big Sky TV • FCS Arizona Plus

OPENING KICKOFFS
• UC Davis plays its third first-time opponent of 2012 when it visits No. 16/15 Northern Arizona on Saturday... The Lumberjacks are the second ranked team the Aggies will have faced so far this season... South Dakota State and Cal Poly were not ranked when UC Davis played them, but are now.
• The Aggies are looking for their second straight road win for the first time since winning its final three in 2010... They're  6-10 (.375) on the road over the past three seasons.
• There were lots of "first time since" and other notables from Saturday's 52-45 shootout at Idaho State... A school record that fell was for most first downs... UC Davis had 35, one more than it had against Iona (W, 55-24) in 2008. 
• One of those "notables" was the Aggies' 640 yards of total offense... That wasn't a school record (that came against Mesa State in 2000; 697 yards), but it did mark the first time over the 600-yard barrier since the Iona game (649) and is the 16th-largest output this season. (more notables later in these notes)
• How strong is P Colton Schmidt's kicking leg? How about nine kickoffs last Saturday and nine touchbacks? A couple of them even sailed out of the back of the endzone, some 75 yards from where they left the tee. Oh yeah, he also deposited a ball into the rafters of Holt Arena while punting during Friday's walk-through practice. "Elvis may have left the building" but the ball didn't. It was still there when UC Davis departed Pocatello.
• QB Randy Wright was named the ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week after his 300-yard effort against the Bengals... He's UC Davis' first winner of a weekly award from the league this season (and, for that matter, ever).
• The Aggies are averaging 137.6 rushing ypg, far ahead of last year's, 95.4 avg... If it holds, it'll be the program's best rushing season since 2003 (142.6 avg)... Their 15 TD's on the ground are already the most since 2008 (16 TD's).
• UC Davis is playing in a dome for the second straight week, the first time that's happened during head coach BOB BIGGS' tenure as head coach and believed to be the first time in the history of the program.
 Biggs picked up career win No. 143 last week, solidfying his second-place position at UC Davis (JIM SOCHOR, 156 from 1970-88)... Biggs is retiring at the end of the 2012 season.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA
• UC Davis and Northern Arizona are meeting for the first time... The Lumberjacks are the Aggies' third first-time opponent this season, joining Azusa Pacific and Idaho State.
• After facing NAU this weekend, UC Davis will have faced every team in the current Big Sky alignment at least once in its all-time history.
• The teams don't share any common opponents yet this season but will have both played Idaho State and Cal Poly by season's end.
• UC Davis is 1-3 all-time against Arizona schools, a mark split between Arizona (1-1) and Arizona State (0-1)... The Aggies are playing for the first time in Arizona since facing ASU (L, 48-14) last season.

HEAD COACHES
Bob Biggs (UC Davis `73) is in his 20th season and final season at the helm of the Aggies and his 35th with the program overall.
• He owns a 143-82-1 (.635) overall record and is 66-56-0 (.537) against NCAA Div. I (FBS, FCS) teams... Biggs is also 57-24 (.704) in the month of October, and 63-54 (.538) on the road... He is 0-1 in the state of Arizona. 
• 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.
• JEROME SOUERS (Oregon `83) is in his 15th season with Northern Arizona and owns an 81-83 (.494) record... NAU is his first four-year head coaching position.
• He enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 2003, leading the Lumberjacks to its first Big Sky title since 1978 and a berth in the NCAA Div. I-AA quarterfinals... Souers was a finalist that season for the Eddie Robinson Award.
• Souers has led NAU to eight winning seasons.

NORTHERN ARIZONA SCOUTING REPORT
• The Lumberjacks are 5-1 for the 15th time in their program's history and have a five-game winning streak for the first time since 2008.
• NAU has scored at least 40 points in three of its past four games and is ranked 20th nationally (33.7 ppg) in scoring.
• The Lumberjacks are coming off a 45-38 win at North Dakota on Saturday and were led by 176 rushing yards and a TD from RB ZACH BAUMAN.
• Bauman is ranked No. 7 (127.8) among FCS rushers and has five straight 100-yard games including 254 against Montana (9/22)... He's scored eight touchdowns... Baumann has 3,261 yards, 37 TD's and 18 100-yard efforts in his career. 
• QB CARY GROSSART threw for a career-high 363 yards and 4 TD's and has a trio of 300-yard games in his tenure... He was sacked four times, however.
• WR IFY UMODU had nine catches in the win last week, picking up 118 yards and a touchdown... Four different receivers caught scoring grabs from Grossart.
• NAU's rushing offense (180.7, 34th) and defense (152.2, 54th), passing offense (220.0, 47th) and defense (196.7, 44th) and scoring defense (26.0, 59th) are all ranked between 34th and 60th, nationally... The only exception is scoring offense (33.7) which has a high-water mark of 20th.
• DT MARC THOMPSON has 3.0 sacks for 16 yards to help lead the NAU defense while DL ZACH McDONNEL has matched him with 3.0 sacks for 14 yards... The Lumberjacks have 10 sacks overall, five less than they've given up.
• LB AUSTIN HASQUET has a team-high 38 tackles while CB ANDERS BATTLE has 34, including a team-best 26 solos.
• S BLAIR WISHOM (3) and DB LUCKY DOZIER (3) have combined for six of NAU's seven interceptions, tying them for 12th nationally.
• No non-FBS opponent this fall has rushed for more than 117 yards against the Lumberjacks or thrown for more than 250 yards.
• The Lumberjacks have been especially dangerous on special teams, particulary punt return where they are second nationally (23.2 avg.) and have the No. 1 returner in WR AUSTIN SHANKS (33.1 avg.) who has already returned two for scores.
• P ANDY WILDER is averaging 45.3 yards per kick, fourth-best among FCS punters and is helping NAU net 39.4 yards, sixth nationally.

NEWS, NOTES FROM THE IDAHO STATE GAME
• Where to start, where to start, where to start.....
• As noted earlier, UC Davis went past the 50-point and 600-yard barriers for the first time since beating Iona 55-24 in 2008.
• The Aggies also hadn't sailed past 500 yards of offense since the Iona game... They had exactly 500 at the end of the third quarter at Idaho State.
• UC Davis set a school record for first downs (35), eclipsing 34 against Iona.
• The 97 combined points were the second-most combined points in team history, only trailing the 106 points tallied between Bloomsburg (58) and UC Davis (48) in the 2000 NCAA Div. II Semifinals.
• Idaho State's 45 points were the second-most for a losing team against UC Davis (46 by Univ. of San Diego, 2007).
• QB Randy Wright's 309 passing yards were his second-highest career total (320 vs. UTSA, 2011) and marked his third career 300-yard game... His 323 total yards were a career-best.
•  RB Colton Silveria (120) and RB Marquis Nicolis (105) were the first dual 100-yard rushers for the Aggies since RB O.J. Swanigan (178) and RB Elihu Vann (130) did so against Western Washington in 2002.
• UC Davis had 336 rushing yards in a downpour against WWU that day, the last time the Aggies had more than 300 on the ground before gaining 331 last weekend... It was the program's first 200-yard game since last year's Causeway Classic (206 yds) against Sacramento State.
• RB COURTNEY WILLIAMS' 55-yard TD run around the left side in the first quarter was the first run over 50 yards since Silveria's 66-yarder in last year's Causeway Classic.
• Williams provided the second three-touchdown (55, 3, 2) game for UC Davis this season... RB Dalton Turay had the other with his standout game against Weber State on Sept. 29.
• The Aggies scored touchdowns on all three of their drives in the third quarter, and 4 of 5 in the second half (not including their final drive which ended the game)... Over a 10-drive span, they had seven touchdowns and a field goal.
• K Brady Stuart's 44-yard field goal matched his longest of the season and, hence, his new Aggie career.
• UC Davis held a decisive 37:36-22:24 time of possession advantage. 
• The Aggies averaged 7.2 yards per play.
• UC Davis punted just one time in the game and that came on their opening possession.
• LB Byron Gruendl and DE Nick King had solo sacks.

GRUENDL AND GLASS GO GET `EM 
• LB Byron Gruendl and LB Jordan Glass are forming a potent 1-2 punch on the defensive side of the ball, combining for 103 tackles through the first seven games.
• GRUENDL has 52, including a team-high 35 solo stops, while Glass has 51, including a team-best 26 assists... Gruendl had a career-high 15 tackles at Cal Poly on Sept. 22 while Glass had 11 against Montana State two weeks later.
• Both have interceptions as well... Gruendl had two picks against Weber State on Sept. 29 while Glass had one against Montana State, turning it into a seven-yard pick-six.
 • They tied for the team lead last year with 68 stops each. 

THREE GAMES HAVE BEEN CHARMED 
• UC Davis has lit up the scoreboard for at least 37 points in each of its last three games, totaling 130 points... It's the Aggies' best three-game output since tallying 138 in 2008 against Southern Utah (49), Iona (55) and North Dakota (34).

STUART OFF TO A GOOD START
• K Brady Stuart is making the most of his first year as the Aggies' placekicker, converting 10 of 12 field goal attempts.
• He's twice made 44-yard field goals, is 4 of 5 from at least 40 yards and had a eight of his past nine, including having a streak of five straight.
• Stuart's 10 field goals put him a six-way tie for 10th on the Aggies' single-season list... For good measure, he's 24 of 25 in PAT's and has a team-high 54 points.

KICKOFF RETURNS AMONG NATION'S BEST
• UC Davis is ninth among all FCS teams in kickoff returns, averaging 26.0 yards per return... CB Jonathan Perkins leads the way for the Aggies, averaging 22.6 yards a return.
• He has 339 total kick return yards and needs 148 to move into the program's single-season top 10... Perkins has a long return of 44 yards.
• RB Courtney Williams had a 70-yarder against Montana State, the longest play for UC Davis this season... It's T-40th among all FCS kick returns this season.

STRIKING FROM ALL DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
• UC Davis' four longest plays this season all represent a different genre:
1. 70 yds - RB Courtney Williams kick return vs. MSU.
2. 69 yds - CB JONATHAN PERKINS int TD return vs. SDSU.
3. 67 yds - WR Corey Galindo TD catch vs. Cal Poly.
4. 55 yds - RB Courtney Williams TD run vs. ISU. 

PUNTING GAME A WEAPON WITH SCHMIDT
• 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 42.7 ypg (23rdd in FCS) while helping the Aggies net 39.6 yards (5th)... Schmidt is currently ranked 18th among FCS punters for career average (40.5)... His 211 punts are third-most among active FCS punters.

GOING OLD SCHOOL WITH THE WHITES
• 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 on Sept.  22 and picked up their first win at Idaho State on Oct. 13.

VETERANS ACROSS THE OFFENSIVE LINE
• 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.

WRIGHT MOVING UP TOP 10 LISTS
• 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 6,177 total yards, passing QB MARK GRIEB (6.-51 yds; 1994-96) for sixth.
• Wright's 524 completions (5th) and 894 attempts (5th) are already in the top 10 while his 40 touchdowns makes him ninth on that list... He needs just three attempts to catch Greg Denham (895; 2007-09)
• He's currently ranked 13th among active FCS quarterbacks for passing yards per game (213.0), and 13th for career yards and 12th for completions.

KASPAR GOES HEAD UP AGAINST BROTHER
• 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.
 
ALL-TIME RECORD
• UC Davis owns an all-time record of 491--372-33 (.568) 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 18-11 (.629) including a 3-2 mark last season.

CONFERENCE HISTORY
• 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).

TEAM CAPTAINS
• UC Davis has four team captains this season in DE Bobby Erskine, FS Kevyn Lewis, C Ray Wilburn and G Sean Davies... Both Erskine and Lewis are injured and not playing.

NEW COACHES WELCOMED TO STAFF 
• 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).