UC Davis Hits Big Sky Road for No. 5 Bobcats

Tom Hemmingsen

Oct. 22, 2013

UC Davis game notes | Live Audio | Live Video 

UC Davis (3-5, 3-1) at No. 5/5 Montana State (5-2, 3-0)

Saturday, Oct. 26 • 1:05 pm (Pacific) • Bozeman, Mont.
Bobcat Stadium (17,200; artificial turf)
TV - Max Media (local to Montana area only)
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 12:30 pm
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com (Free)
Live Audio: www.ucdavisaggies.com (Free)

Series Record: Montana State leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Oct. 27, 2012; MSU won 48-41
Last Meeting Location: Davis, Calif.
Longest Aggie Win Streak: 1
Longest Montana State Win Streak: 2 Last Aggie Win: Sept. 16, 2006 Last Bobcats Win: 2012

The Last Meeting
Montana State (Homecoming and Block CA student-athlete reunion)48
UC Davis41
October 6, 2012
Davis, Calif.
No. 2 Montana State Spoils Aggies' Upset Bid
Zach Minter's interception near the goal line in the fourth quarter set up Tray Robinson's go-ahead touchdown as No. 2 Montana State survived a scare from upset-minded UC Davis with a 48-41 Big Sky Conference football win at Aggie Stadium on Saturday night.

UC Davis hits the road for the penultimate time this season to face Montana State on Saturday, facing its highest-ranked team since dropping a 48-41 heartbreaker to the then-No. 2 Bobcats exactly 364 days ago at Aggie Stadium... The Aggies are 0-2 against ranked teams so far this season... UC Davis has won two straight road games for the first time since 2010 when it won three straight against San Jose State, North Dakota and Cal Poly... The Aggies are 3-1 in league play for the first time since finishing the 2010 Great West Conference season with that mark... QB Randy Wright set a school record for career passing attempts (1,170) last weekend, is now second in completions (679) and needs just 23 yards to become the second Aggie QB to throw for more than 8,000... TE Taylor Sloat caught his first two touchdowns of the year in last weekend's win at Northern Colorado and was named the national tight end of the week by College Football Performance... RB Gabe Manzanaresis averaging 137.0 ypg. rushing over his last four games and is fourth in the Big Sky in rushing (101.6 ypg)... He has three 100-yard games in his recent surge including a 208-yard effort against Idaho State on Sept. 28... UC Davis is ranked 31st nationally in passing yards allowed (193.4 pg) and is T-35th in points allowed (23.0 pg).

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 12:30 pm (Pacific) and will be streamed (free) on www.ucdavisaggies.com... KHTK's call will be simulcast on www.ucdavisaggies.com.

Saturday's game will be televised local to the Montana area only... It will be available, however, free of charge through the Big Sky on www.WatchBigSky.com... A link is available through the schedule page at www.ucdavisaggies.com... All regular-season Aggie games are available online.

The Bobcats own a 2-1 lead and have won two straight in a series that only began in 2006... In a matchup of ranked teams in their first-ever game, the No. 21 Aggies blanked the No. 20 Bobcats, 45-0... WR TONY KAYS caught 10 passes for 143 yards and two scores... QB Jon Grantthrew for 324 yards and five touchdowns, and the defense held Montana State to just two rushing yards and 194 yards overall... The game was final of five straight road games to start the season... The Bobcats jumped to a 28-7 halftime lead in 2011, recording a 38-14 home win... The teams engaged in a wild game last year with Montana State leading 31-14 at halftime only to have UC Davis score 24 unanswered in the third quarter... RB TRAY ROBINSON's one-yard run with 8:40 left lifted the No. 2 Bobcats to a 48-41 win.

Montana State enters the weekend with a three-game winning streak, having averaged 44.3 points during that span... It's averaging 38.4 ppg. overall, ranking the Bobcats 14th in the FCS... They're ranked 17th in total offense (457.4), 28th in rushing (204.6) and 33rd in passing (252.9)... A big part of their success is in turnover margin... Montana State is sixth nationally at 1.6 pg, having committed just seven turnovers this season including only two fumbles... RB CODY KIRK has been a key to the Bobcats' ground attack, having gained 595 yards and scored an impressive 12 TDs, the latter ranking fourth in the country... QB DeNARIUS McGHEE (1,037 yds, 4 TDs), the reigning Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, has carried the passing attack while also averaging 4.8 yards a carry... WR TANNER BLESKIN (45-670, 2 TDs) and WR JON ELLIS (25-316, 4 TDs), and WR BRIAN FLOTKOETTER (20-374, 3 TDs) have been the primary targets... DE BRAD DALY has been a force on the defensive line, posting 15.0 TFLs and 10.0 sacks, and leads the FCS in both departments... The Bobcats had seven sacks during their win against Colorado Mesa... LB ALEX SINGLETON has 11.0 TFLs among his team-leading 59 tackles while also contributing a team-high three interceptions... Montana State is allowing just 139.7 rushing ypg. (34th in FCS), is 59th in passing defense (221.7) and is 41st (361.4) in total yards allowed... WR SHAWN JOHNSON has been a key to the special teams both returning kickoffs and punts... He's averaging 30.5 yards per kick (7th in FCS) and is 17th in punt returns (11.6)... Johnson leads the Big Sky in both areas... P RORY PEREZ is averaging 45.0 yards a punt and has a long of 68 yards... He's 7 for 12 in field goals and has made his last three (40, 28, 45 yds).

UC Davis had a season-high 488 total yards, bettering the 455 it had against Idaho State... QB Randy Wright's 310 passing yards marked his fourth 300-yard game (his first such games since throwing for 309 at Idaho State last year) and are second only to the career-high 320 he posted against UTSA in 2011... The Aggies' 24-0 halftime lead was its biggest first-half lead since going up 31-0 against Weber State last season (UC Davis led 31-6 at halftime)... The Aggies held a 39:59-20:01 advantage in possession time and were a season-best 11 for 16 (.688) on third-down... UC Davis did not allow a first down in the first quarter while picking up 10, outgained the Bears 185-13 in the opening 15 minutes and 319-84 at halftime... Northern Colorado ran just 17 plays in the first half to the Aggies' 42... K Marcus White had touchbacks on five of his seven kickoffs... TE Taylor Sloat's touchdowns marked the first time an Aggie has caught two scores since WR Anthony Soto against Portland State last season... UC Davis' first four drives covered 74 yards (TD), 74 yards (TD), 79 yards (FG) and 82 yards (TD)... The 79-yard drive took 9 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock... CB Shamawn Wright had a career-high three pass-breakups, including one on fourth down at the UC Davis 18 that thwarted the Bears' best scoring chance in the first half... Wright also had a 45-yard kickoff return in the third quarter... The Aggies had just one TFL in the game... Ten different players caught passes for UC Davis led by WR Tom Hemmingsenwho had six grabs for 64 yards... Five players had at least 46 receiving yards... UC Davis did not throw an interception for the fifth time in seven games and has just two picks in the last five... The Aggies did not have a turnover for the first time this season... It was also the first UC Davis game overall where there were no turnovers.

QB Randy Wright set the program's all-time passing attempts record when his 37 passes at Northern Colorado gave him 1,170 for his career... That broke the previous held by QB Jon Grant (2003-06)... He also moved into the No. 2 spot for completions (needs 12 for that record) and total offense, and is now third in touchdowns (51)... Wright needs just 23 yards to become the third Aggie quarterback to go over 8,000 in his career... He began his playing career in 2010 against Cal, becoming the first freshman since Ryan Flanigan(2000) to start a season opener.

TE Taylor Sloat picked the perfect time to match his touchdown total from last year when he caught a pair of TD passes from QB Randy Wrightin the first quarter against Northern Colorado... His 28-yard reception came less than three minutes into the game while his 16-yarder happened on the Aggies' second series... Both capped 74-yard drives... Sloat finished with three catches for 57 yards and now has 48 career receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns... His dad, Todd, was a former QB for UC Davis (1985-87).

The Aggies have done a great job covering punts this season, allowing just 23 total yards on 15 punts (1.53 avg.)... That ranks fourth in the FCS and is the best average of any team that's faced at least 10 returns.

UC Davis is ranked T-2nd in the Big Sky for fewest penalties per game (4.75) and is T-18th nationally... It's also third in the league and 23rd in the FCS for least penalty yards per game (42.8)... The Aggies averaged 6.6 penalties and 60.4 yards per game in 2012.

The Aggies led the FCS in kickoff return average last season (26.4) and while not quite that high this season, are still 39th (21.6) nationally and fourth in the Big Sky... UC Davis has averaged 24.0 yards over its last two games... CB Shamawn Wright had a 45-yard return at Northern Colorado last week and is averaging 27.1 yards on nine returns with a long of 59 yards... CB Jonathan Perkinsis averaging 19.7 yards and has a long return of 45.

UC Davis is averaging 144.5 rushing ypg. through its first eight games, an average that if it holds up would be the program's best in more than a decade... The Aggies averaged 178.6 ypg. in 2002 but since then have not averaged better than 142.6 (`03) and four times have been below 100 ypg, including three straight years from 2009-11... This year's average is up 5.7 ypg. from last season (136.9).

Three touchdowns in the red zone last weekend at Northern Colorado gave UC Davis 10 in its last four games, a big improvement from the two they totaled in the first four... In fact, over the first four games, the Aggies scored just 20 points on seven trips into the red zone... In the last four, they been inside the 20-yard line 17 times and have come away with 82 points, including 24 at UNC.

Entering last weekend, the Aggies were converting just 30.4 percent of their third-down opportunities, going 32 for 105... However, a season-best 11-of-16 showing at Northern Colorado raised that percentage to 35.5... UC Davis ranks 86th nationally and eighth in the Big Sky... Conversely, however, the Aggies continue to rank among the FCS's best in stopping teams on third down... They're second in the conference and 22nd in the country at 33.3 percent (38-114)... As for fourth down, UC Davis is just 1 of 6 (.167) while opponents are 9 for 17 (.529)... The Aggies have only gone for it on fourth down twice in their past four games.

The defense moved up two spots in the national defensive rankings this week and is 57th overall (381.1)... It's been particularly effective against the pass, allowing just 193.4.0 ypg... That mark sits 31st nationally and second in the Big Sky... S AARYN JONES has two interceptions for UC Davis which didn't have one through the first three games but then had six over the next three.

DE Nick King has 5.0 sacks this season and is ranked seventh in the Big Sky... King, who led the Aggies in both sacks (6.5) and TFLs (14.0) during his breakout junior season last year, had a single sack at Nevada on Sept. 7 and followed with 3.0 against Portland State and then another at Southern Utah on Oct. 5 which also caused a fumble... He is tied with LB Steven Pittsfor the team lead in TFLs and has 19.5 for his career, just 0.5 TFL from moving into a tie for eighth place for the most by Aggie since 2001.

RB Gabe Manzanares is on pace for a 1,000-yard season which would be the program's first since RB Matt Massari had 1,274 in 2003... Manzanares broke open his inaugural season with the Aggies by rushing for 208 yards (34 carries) against Idaho State on Sept. 28... He followed that with 175 yards (33) at Southern Utah a week later on Oct. 5 and added 105 at Northern Colorado last week... Manzanares is ranked 28th among FCS runners for yards (711) and is 26th in rushing yards per game (101.6)... His 383 yards over those two games rank seventh in the Aggies' recordbook for back-to-back efforts. The others? 1. MIKE ICHIYAMA, 614 (309-Chico State, 305-San Francisco State, 1994) 2. Preston Jackson, 430 (187-San Francisco State; 243-Sacramento State, 1993) 3. Preston Jackson, 415 (243-Sacramento State, 172-Fort Hays State, 1993) 4. Matt Massari, 401 (221-Cal Poly, 180-Saint Mary's, 2002) 5. JERMAINE RUCKER, 399 (238-Saint Mary's, 161-Western New Mexico, 1996) 6. Preston Jackson, 391 (168-Humboldt State, 223-Chico State, 1992) Manzanare's 208 yards against Idaho State rank T-10th all-time at UC Davis while his 175 yards are 24th... He was the first Aggie to go over 200 yards since RB Matt Massariin 2002 against Cal Poly (221)... Massari did it twice in `02, earlier gaining 237 against Abilene Christian... Overall, Manzanares has 548 yards during his last four games. (see page 28 for game-by-game rushing)

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 Turaywho 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-stater since QB Sean Maraz(who was from Phoenix, Ariz., and was on the `11 roster.

UC Davis is 4-2-1since 1962 when playing on Oct. 26 and includes a notable associated moment... First, though, the wins: at Cal Poly Pomona (17-15, `68), at Sacramento State (22-17, `74), vs. Cal State Northridge (41-22, `85) and at Cal Poly (28-14, `02). The losses: vs. San Francisco State (12-7, `62) and at Chico State (20-24, `91)... The lone tie came against San Francisco State in 1963, 10-10... Those moments? RB Matt Massari rushed for 221 yards at Cal Poly in 2002, the last time an Aggie had ran for at least 200 yards until RB Gabe Manzanaresdid it against Idaho State this season.

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
SOUTHERN UTAH - DE Nick King, DT Anthony Kaspar, OL Jimmy Kunkel, RB Gabe Manzanares
MONTANA - S Charles Boyett, DE Nick King, WR TJ King, OL Jimmy Kunkel
NORTHERN COLORADO - S Aarynn Jones, DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, OL Jay Luchetti

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.
Oct. 7 - Offense: Garrett Safron, Sacramento State; Defense: CB Anthony Goodwin, Montana; Special Teams: KR Greg Hardin, North Dakota; KR Shawn Johnson, Montana State.
Oct. 14 - Offense: QB Chase Cartwright, Northern Arizona; WR Luke Austin, Idaho State; Defense: Tyree Mills, Southern Utah; Special Teams: P Brock Miller, Southern Utah.
Oct. 21 - Offense: RB Zach Bauman, Northern Arizona; Defense: LB Brock Coyle, Montana; Special Teams: P Rory Perez, Montana State.

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

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 locally televised 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... The Aggies' home game against Montana on Oct. 12 was broadcast by Max Media and aired on ROOTS SPORTS regional network.

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, Grieb's Menlo Oaks will hosted Buck's Pacific (Ore.) Boxers... Pacific won the matchup, 28-21.

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)

UC Davis returns home next week to face rival Cal Poly in the "Battle for the Golden Horseshoe" on Nov. 2 at Aggie Stadium... The Aggies lead the all-time series 19-17-2 and have won three of the past four games... The Mustangs won last year's matchup in San Luis Obispo, 28-20... That game leads into the only bye week of the season for the Aggies.