Aggies Begin Great West Schedule At South Dakota

Byron Gruendl had seven tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss last week against UTSA

Oct. 18, 2011

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UC Davis (2-4, 0-0)
South Dakota (4-3, 1-0)

Saturday, October 22, 2011
2 p.m. PT • Vermillion, S.D.
Dakota Dome (10,000)
KHTK (1140 AM)

- UC Davis got back in the win column with a 38-17 homecoming victory over UTSA last week.
- The Aggies are 2-1 at home this season after defeating the Roadrunners, a first-year program in football. UTSA will compete in the WAC in 2012.
- UC Davis set season highs in nearly every offensive category last week, including points (38), first downs (25), rushing yards (135), total offense (455) and possession time (34:41).
- The Aggies have not won on the road this season, with games against two FBS schools and a top-5 FCS squad.
- UC Davis starts its Great West Conference schedule this week at South Dakota. The Aggies are the only GWC member school yet to play a league game.    
- Cal Poly and UC Davis are the only Great West member schools to play all four league games consecutively.  
- The Aggies are a combined 8-3 in the Great West over the past three seasons after winning the conference title in 2009.
- Randy Wright had his best game of the season against UTSA, throwing for a career high 320 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 18 of 30 passing attempts with touchdown passes of 18 yards, 46 yards and 21 yards.
- Wright was named Great West Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts last week. He earned two conference weekly awards last season. The only other UC Davis player to receive a player of the week nod in 2011 is Colton Schmidt, who took home Special Teams Player of the Week after week one.  
- Redshirt freshman Colton Silveria tallied his first collegiate touchdowns last week, posting 21 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns.   
- The Aggies spread out their passing attack to eight separate receivers, six of which had multiple catches. Corey Galindo led the team with four catches. Anthony Soto and Tom Hemmingsen recorded nearly identical numbers. Soto posted three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown while Hemmingsen totaled three catches, 85 yards and a touchdown.
- Junior punter Colton Schmidt continues to rank among the nation’s best, averaging 43.9 yards per punt, good enough for 9th in the nation.  
- True freshman free safety Charles Boyett had a break out game against the Roadrunners, leading the team with 8 tackles.
- UC Davis is second in the GWC in passing offense with 256.0 yards per contest.  

- UC Davis leads the all-time series 2-1, having played the Coyotes in each of the last two seasons. The Aggies won at home last season, taking a 17-13 victory. In 2009, UC Davis traveled to Vermillion and came away with a 24-23 overtime victory.

- The Coyotes enter Saturday’s contest with a No. 17 national ranking in the FCS Coaches Poll. South Dakota is also ranked No. 25 in The Sports Network Poll. The Coyotes were ranked as high as No. 14 prior to  their most recent loss.
- South Dakota dropped a 28-3 game to Illinois State last week, losing their first game to a FCS team this season. The Coyotes had previously lost to Air Force and No. 6 Wisconsin.
- South Dakota downed Eastern Washington 30-17 earlier this season. Eastern Washington was ranked No. 1 in FCS at the time of their meeting.
- The Coyotes have had one Great West game, taking a 24-19 win over Southern Utah at home.
- Senior quarterback DANTE WARREN is averaging 121.1 passing yards and 43.9 rushing yards per game with six TDs through the air and five on the ground.
- Junior running back MARCUS SIMS leads the team with 70.4 rushing yards per game to go along with three touchdowns while WILL POWELL has a team-best 49.3 receiving yards per game and two touchdowns.  
- South Dakota leads the GWC in sacks while sophomore TYLER STARR is tied for second in the nation with 10 sacks for the season.

- Bob Biggs (UC Davis `73) is in his 19th season at the helm of the Aggies and his 33rd with the program overall.
- He owns a 138-75-1 (.648) overall record and is 62-50-0 (.554) against NCAA Div. I teams... Biggs is also 56-21 (.727) in the month of October and went 2-2 last season. Biggs is 61-49 (.554) on the road, after a 4-2 mark away from home last year.
- 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.
- Six 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 with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL. This year, Jon Compas was signed by the New England Patriots and Dean Rogers was picked up by the San Diego Chargers.

- Ed Meierkort (Dakota Wesleyan ‘82) is 52-33 (.612) in his eight year with the program and 107-88 (.549) overall as a head coach.
- During his tenure, South Dakota has posted one of its most successful stretches in school history by setting or tying more than 100 school records.
- Prior to coming to South Dakota, Meierkort was the head coach at Wisconsin-Stout from 1993-2003.
Meierkort was the 2000 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year. That year, he was a finalist for the AFCA National Coach of the Year award.

- UTSA took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter while the Aggies were held scoreless. From there UC Davis had a 17-3 lead at halftime en route to 38 unanswered points.
- Randy Wright threw for a career-high 320 yards and three touchdowns, while Colton Silveria added 75 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
- UC Davis had a season-high 455 yards of total offense, including 320 passing yards with Wright completing 18 of 30 attempts.
- The Aggies also converted on their first four red-zone scoring opportunities.

- UC Davis had its best offensive performance of the year against the Roadrunners, posting several team and individual team highs.
- Team highs included: rushes (42), yards rushing (135), TD rushes (2), yards per pass (10.7), total offense (455), yards per play (6.3), points (38), first downs (25), punting average (49.0) and long punt return (17).
- Individual highs included: rushes (21 - Silveria), yards rushing (75 - Silveria), TD rushes (2 - Silveria), yards passing (320 - Wright), TD passes (3 - Wright), long pass (50 - Wright), long reception (50 - Hemmingsen), long field goal (42 - Kelley), punting average (49.0 - Schmidt) and long punt return (17 - Hemmingsen).

- UC Davis posted a season-best 135 rushing yards against UTSA and cracked the century mark for the first time on the year. The previous team best was 88 yards in the first game of the season at Arizona State.
- Redshirt freshman Colton Silveria has led the Aggies in rushing yards in each of the last five games. Silveria saw the payoff against the Roadrunners, reaching the endzone twice for the first two scores of his collegiate career.  

- Sophomore wide receiver Tom Hemmingsen tried to lift the Aggies to victory against Humboldt State with career highs in catches (10), yards (141) and touchdowns (2).
- Hemmingsen gave UC Davis life late in the fourth quarter with a 50-yard touchdown reception. The Aggies were held scoreless for nearly 28 minutes up until the score.
- The 50-yard reception was the longest offensive play of the season for UC Davis.  

- After game four, UC Davis was ranked No. 3 in toughest schedule, sorted by past opposition’s records.
- The Aggies bumped up to No. 1 after game five against a 5-0 Humboldt State team.
- In addition to playing a nationally ranked Division II team, UC Davis has gone up against two FBS teams and a top-5 FCS team.

- UC Davis has gone 1-3 in the month of September in each of the last four seasons, playing six FBS opponents during that time.
- Despite the increased level of competition during the first month of the season, the Aggies have historically bounced back in the month of October.
- UC Davis is 56-21 (.727) under coach Biggs in games played during October.
- After starting in a hole early in the season, the Aggies have finished with winning records in 2010 and 2009.
- UC Davis has also had win streaks of three games or more in each of the last three seasons (2008-10).

- The Aggies used a strong second half to gain some distance en route to a 31-3 win over San Diego in the home opener.
- After leading 7-0 at the end of the first half, UC Davis and QB Randy Wright rattled off 14 unanswered points in the second quarter, followed by 10 more in the fourth. Wright had three touchdown passes, two of which were to Tom Hemmingsen.
- The Aggies also had four interceptions in the game and held USD to 255 yards of total offense.

- UC Davis has had a significant edge in the turnover battle this season, ranking 4th nationally after week three in turnover margin (2.00). The Aggies were also ranked tied for 1st in the nation with six interceptions on the season.
- On the other side of the coin, UC Davis went over three games without throwing an interception.
Last season, Wright had a 3-game stretch against Weber St., San Jose St. and South Dakota, with no interceptions.

- UC Davis aired it out in the first win of the season against San Diego. After the Toreros committed to stopping the run game, QB Randy Wright threw for 252 yards in the second half alone.
- Scoring the first touchdown of the second half, the Aggies had a 12-play, 67-yard drive using 10 pass plays. Wright was 6 of 10 on the drive en route to the touchdown.
- The next scoring drive, UC Davis had all passing plays, with Wright going 5 of 7 for 74 yards and a touchdown.

10,000 PLUS    
UC Davis had 10,129 fans in attendance at the home opener against San Diego, marking the largest crowd in home openers at Aggie Stadium. Listed below are the games in Aggie Stadium history with 10,000 plus in attendance.
t1. Cal Poly, 11/6/09    10,849
t1. Southern Utah, 10/11/08    10,849
3. Cal Poly, 10/13/07    10,743
4. South Dakota, 10/9/10    10,352
4. Sacramento State, 11/8/08    10,317
5. Winston-Salem State, 10/17/09    10,289
6. San Diego, 9/17/11    10,219
7. Western Oregon, 9/25/09    10,078
† - NCAA Playoff game

The Aggies continued their competitive nonconference schedule, playing a top FCS opponent at No. 4 Montana State. After scoring in the first drive of the game and going up 7-0, the Bobcats took a 28-7 halftime advantage.
Despite touchdown receptions to Tom Hemmingsen and Corey Galindo, Montana State held on for a 38-14 win.    

UC Davis was playing in some hot conditions at Arizona State, with the high for the day climbing to 112 degrees. By kickoff at 7:15 p.m., the temperature had dropped down to 104 degrees. The game ended at 10:11 p.m. and the temperature had just got to under triple digits at 99 degrees.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Ryan Dimino was the Aggies’ top tackler at Arizona State, registering 11 tackles and 10 solo stops. Sacramento area fans are not surprised by Dimino’s performance in his first collegiate game. Dimino was named the All-Metro Player of the Year by the Sacramento Bee in 2009 as a quarterback. He rushed for 2,702 yards and passed for 2,089 yards that season and tallied 47 total touchdowns. Playing both ways, Dimino also ranked second on the team with 60 tackles. He also earned Old Spice California Player of the Year, Capital Athletic League MVP and first-team Cal-Hi Sports honors in 2009.

After three Great West Special Teams Player of the Week honors in 2010, junior punter Colton Schmidt picked up where he left off, earning a POW nod in the first week of the 2011 season. Schmidt was put to work early and often with nine punts for 411 yards at Arizona State. He had an average of 45.7 yards per punt with a long of 64 yards with two punts being downed inside the 20-yard line. Schmidt also executed on a 58-yard punt from within his own end zone late in the third quarter.

UC Davis has not backed down from some tough competition against both FCS and FBS foes in recent years. The Aggies will stick with a similar model from last season, playing one Pac-12 opponents and one WAC opponent, both of whom compete at the FBS level. On slate for this season are Arizona State and Hawai’i. In 2010 UC Davis downed WAC member San Jose State 14-13 on the road.
In addition to historically relevant programs, the Aggies will take on some historic coaches in 2011. Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson and UTSA head coach Larry Coker have both won FBS National Championships with Miami (Fla.).

UC Davis has had a season of firsts in many regards. Game one at Arizona State was the first Thursday game in program history. The Aggies also played at Hawai’i with a 9 p.m. start time (Pacific), making it the latest start time in the 93-year history for UC Davis football.

- UC Davis looks to leave the Great West in style this season by capturing its second conference title in three years.
- Next year the Aggies will depart for the Big Sky Conference, along with Great West members Cal Poly, Southern Utah and North Dakota. While the Big Sky expands to 13 teams in 2012, the Great West will play its final year of football in 2011.
- The Aggies, one of three original members of the Great West Conference still competing in the league, are in their eighth year in the conference, capturing titles in 2005 and 2009.
UC Davis is 18-12 (.600) all-time in the GWC, having also finished second in 2004 and 2008 in addition to its two titles.
- 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 also tied for the title in its only year of membership in the American West Conference (1993).
- UC Davis has now won or shared 30 all-time league titles... Its first came in 1929 when it went 5-0 in the Far Western Conference.