Battle for the Golden Horseshoe Takes Center Stage

Jimmy Kunkel and Randy Wright

Oct. 28, 2013

(rv) Cal Poly (3-5, 2-2) at UC Davis (3-6, 3-2)

Saturday, Nov. 2 • 4 pm • Davis, Calif.
Aggie Stadium (10,849; Shaw Sports Turf)
TV - None
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 3:30 pm • 
KDVS (90.3 FM)
Live Video: (Free)
Live Audio: (Free) 

Series RecordUC Davis leads 19-17-2
Last Meeting: Sept. 22, 2012; CP won 28-20
Last Meeting Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Longest Aggie Win Streak: 5 (1982-86)
Longest Cal Poly Win Streak: 3 (2x) (2006-08, last)
Last Aggie Win: Nov. 5, 2011 (24-17 in Davis)
Last Mustang Win: 2012
UC Davis and Cal Poly renew their long-standing rivalry this weekend with "The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe" which is being played in Davis for the 21st time... The Aggies are looking for their third straight home win against the Mustangs... Cal Poly has spent much of the season ranked in the national polls but is receiving votes in The Sports Network poll only this week... UC Davis RB GABE MANZARES picked up 179 rushing yards at No. 5 Montana State on Saturday, pushing his season total to 890 and bringing him within striking distance of becoming the program's first 1,000-yard rusher since RB Matt Massari in 2003... Manzanares has four 100-yard games this season and is second in the Big Sky Conference in rushing yards per game (111.3)... DE Nick King's sack of Bobcats' QB DeNARIUS McGHEE gives him 6.0 sacks this season and puts him third in the conference and 39th nationally... UC Davis has been stellar on punt returns, allowing just a 1.8 avg., which ranks its fourth in the FCS... Wins in their final three games will give the Aggies their first non-losing season since going 6-5 in 2010... Victories in the last two home games will give them three straight non-losing home schedules... Cal Poly brings the top rushing offense (281.0 ypg.) in NCAA Division I FCS and the 29th-ranked offense (437.3).

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 3:30 pm (Pacific) and will be streamed (free) on KHTK's call will be simulcast on Student station KDVS-Radio (90.3) will also broadcast with GREG WONG (play-by-play) and SAMMY MECKLER (analyst).

Saturday's game will not be televised... It will be available, however, free of charge through the Big Sky on A link is available through the schedule page at All regular-season Aggie games are available online.

UC Davis leads the all-time series 19-17-2 including a 12-6-2 record in Davis... The Aggies are 2-1 against the Mustangs at Aggie Stadium... UC Davis has won three of the past four games while the Mustangs have won four of the last seven... Neither team has scored fewer than 10 points in the rivalry since Cal Poly's 19-0 win in 1990... That game started a streak of 212 games by UC Davis without being shut out, a streak that ended at Fresno State in 2009... The Aggies jumped to a 10-0 lead last season behind a 67-yard pass by QB Randy Wright to WR Corey Galindo but Cal Poly scored 28 straight and then held on down the stretch as UC Davis scored 10 straight points to pull close... Wright threw for 278 yards while Galindo had three catches for 100 yards.

Cal Poly enters the game on a two-game losing streak although both losses have come against ranked teams in Montana and Northern Arizona... The Mustangs run for 281.0 ypg., best in the FCS, and are led by SB KRISTAAN IVORY who's averaging 101.0 ypg., and has 808 yards and six touchdowns on the year... Cal Poly favors the run 71 percent of the time and is averaging 437.3 ypg., overall which ranks the Mustangs' 29th nationally... Ivory played only briefly in last week's loss to NAU... QB DANO GRAVES, from nearby Folsom HS, has run for 292 yards this season... Ivory is also the leading receiver in terms of receptions (23) but WR WILLIE TUCKER (18-312) is tops in yards... Tucker, however, is out for the season due to injury... QB CHRIS BROWN (539 yds, 4 TD's) and Graves (379 yds, 3 TDs) have both played four games this season... Graves threw for 115 yards against NAU and ran for 86 more... The offensive line has allowed just four sacks this season, second-best in the country... Cal Poly's defense is ranked 42nd nationally (363.3) and has been particularly tough against the rush, ranking third in the Big Sky and 34th (138.0) nationally...  A big part of that is LB CAMERON ONTKO, a transfer from Wisconsin, who averages 10 stops per game... LB NICK DZUBNAR is close behind at 9.9 tackles per game and has forced a Big Sky-leading three fumbles... DE SULLIVAN GROSZ has a team-high 5.0 sacks and 8.0 TFLs... S JORDAN WILLIAMS leads with two interceptions... P PAUL HUNDLEY is ranked seventh in the FCS in punting (44.0 avg.) and has a long boot this season of 73 yards... K BOBBY ZALUD has made seven field goals - including two against Northern Arizona - and had a season-best 53-yard kick against Yale.

RB Gabe Manzanares' 179 rushing yards featured a 31-yard gain in the second quarter in which he broke an estimated six tackles before finally being pulled down at the Bobcats' 18-yard line... He had 13 carries for 113 yards in the first half and finished the game with 212 all-purpose yards... Manzanares had 27 of the team's 33 total rushes - three which were sacks of QB Randy Wright... WR Tom Hemmingsen tied a career high with 10 catches (for 81 yards and a TD), which he also accomplished against Humboldt State in 2011... S CHARLES BOYETT had a season-best 27-yard punt return which helped set up the Aggies' first TD drive in the second quarter... DE Nick King and DE Marques Barron each had sacks while DE Colin Kelly and DT Khalid Jones shared another... It was the fourth time this season the Aggies have had at least three sacks in a game... LB Jonathan Bias had a game-high nine total tackles while LB Ryan Dimino and Boyett each had eight... DT Kyle DeVaughn blocked an extra point; UC Davis' third blocked kick this season... The Aggies (30:51) led in time-of-possession for the sixth time this year... They also allowed just six total punt return yards... The 18,627 fans represented the largest attendance for a UC Davis game against an FCS opponent this year and the largest since playing in front 18,487 spectators in Bozeman two years ago... The Aggies' two longest drives resulted in scores: a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended with K Brady Stuart's 29-yard field goal in the second quarter, and a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by WR Tom Hemmingsen's five-yard TD reception in the fourth... The teams combined for just four penalties and 32 yards, including only two flags totaling 14 yards against the Aggies... UC Davis was 3 for 3 in the redzone, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

QB Randy Wright has become the Aggies' career leader in both passing attempts and completions with his performances the last two weeks, surpassing QB Jon Grant (2003-06) in both... He earned the attempts record against Northern Colorado and went past the completions mark a week later at Montana State... Wright also became the third Aggie signal-caller to reach 8,000 career passing yards when he threw for 159 at MSU, and needs just 85 to climb to second all-time at UC Davis... He is also third in touchdowns (52)... He began his playing career in 2010 against Cal, becoming the first freshman since Ryan Flanigan (2000) to start a season opener... He was an All-Great West Conference second-team pick in 2010 and has started 38 career games.

UC Davis had five turnovers in its first three games (4 int., 1 fum.) but have committed just six in their last six games including not having any at Northern Colorado... The Aggies have just two interceptions - both against Montana - during that stretch which covers 183 attempts... For the season, UC Davis has 10 takeaways and 11 giveaways... Its five fumbles rank UC Davis 27th in the FCS and fifth in the league.

DT Kyle DeVaughn blocked an extra point at Montana State last week, the third blocked kick for the Aggies this season... DT Anthony Kaspar swatted an extra point against Portland State and CB Jonathan Perkins came off the edge and blocked a field goal at Southern Utah... The three blocks are the Aggies' most since picking up three in 2009.

S CHARLES BOYETT and S AARYN JONES are 1-2 in the tackles department for UC Davis with 61 and 54, respectively... Jones, who also has a team-high two interceptions and is tied for the team lead with four pass-breakups, has posted an Aggie-best 38 solo stops... He had a season-high nine tackles (8 solo) in the season opener at South Dakota... Boyett has three games (PSU, SUU, MSU) with eight tackles, has a trio of PBUs and an interception, and has forced a team-high two fumbles.

UC Davis was just 9 of 27 (.333) on third down against Southern Utah and Montana but has turned the tables over the past two games... The Aggies went a combined 19 of 32 (.594) against Northern Colorado and Montana State including 11 of 16 (.688) in the former... For the season. UC Davis is converting 37.2 percent of the time, eighth-best in the Big Sky... The Aggies led the conference in third-down defense for part of the season but are now fourth (.365) in the league and 45th nationally.

Opponents have converted 76.7 percent of the time when reaching the red zone against the Aggies, a figure that ranks UC Davis 37th in the country and fourth in the Big Sky... Montana State went 4 for 4 last weekend (scoring 27 points), the first time since Nevada that an opponent has made at least that many trips inside the Aggies' 20 and come away with a score each time... UC Davis is 21 of 27 (.778) in its red-zone attempts... Opponents have outscored the Aggies 135-119. 

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 Wright in 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 52 career receptions for 672 yards and five touchdowns... His dad, Todd, was a former QB for UC Davis (1985-87).

UC Davis continues to rank among the FCS's best in punt return coverage, allowing a total of just 34 yards on 16 returns... The 1.7 average ranks fourth in the country and first in the Big Sky Conference... South Dakota had three returns for 12 yards in the opener but no other team has been able to garner more than six total yards in any game... The longest return by an opponent is eight yards.  

The Aggies had just two penalties for 14 yards in last weekend's loss at Montana State, continuing a trend where they've only sparingly been whistled... The Aggies are first in the Big Sky and 12th nationally in penalties per game (4.4) and are second in the conference and 16th in the FCS for penalty yards per game (39.6).

The Aggies led the FCS in kickoff return average last season (26.4) and while not quite that high this season, are continuing to climb up the national rankings... The jumped eight spots this week and are now 31st nationally and fifth in the Big Sky in return average (22.3) while two UC Davis players are ranked in the top 100... CB Shamawn Wright, who has a long of 59 yards this season, is 17th in the country (27.8) while CB Jonathan Perkins, whose best return this yearis 45 yards, is 90th (19.7)... Perkins returned a kick 81 yards against Sacramento State last season. 

UC Davis is averaging 147.3 rushing ypg. through its first NINE 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 10.4 ypg. from last season (136.9).

DE Nick King has a team-high 6.0 sacks this season and is ranked third 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... King brought down Montana State's DeNarius McGhee in his most recent sack... He is tied with LB Steven Pitts for the team lead in TFLs with 6.5, and has 20.5 for his career... He owns 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 two weeks ago... With 179 at Montana State last week, Manzanares now has four 100-yard games this season... He's ranked second in the Big Sky for rushing yards per game (111.3) and total rushing yards (890) and is 15th and 16th, respectively, among all FCS runners...  His 383 yards against Idaho State and Southern Utah 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 179 and 175 yards are 23rd and 26th, respectively... He was the first Aggie to go over 200 yards since RB Matt Massari in 2002 against Cal Poly (221)... Massari did it twice in `02, earlier gaining 237 against Abilene Christian... Overall, Manzanares has 727 yards during his last five 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. 

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 5-1 since 1962 when playing on Nov. 2 but hasn't played on the day since facing Cal Poly in 1996... The Mustangs won that game 17-13, the only Aggie loss on Nov. 2... UC Davis beat UC Santa Barbara, 7-0, in 1963 and then won at San Francisco State, 30-6, in 1968... A 1974 victory over Humboldt State (14-7) is the only win against a school still playing football... The Aggies won at Sonoma State, 38-9, in 1985 and then edged San Francisco 
State, 24-21, at Toomey Field in 1991.

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

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.
Oct. 28 - Offense: QB Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington; Defense: S David Edgerson, Portland State;
Special Teams: K Colton Cook, Southern Utah; KR Marcus Alford, Northern Arizona.

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 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 (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)

The Aggies will have their only bye of the season next week before returning to host North Dakota on Nov. 16... UC Davis has a 3-2 series lead against North Dakota which includes a matcup in the 2001 NCAA Div. II Playoffs won by UND, 14-2... That game will lead into the schedule finale at rival Sacramento State on Nov. 23 and the Causeway Classic... Next week's bye is the latest in a season for UC Davis since 2007.
The Last Meeting
UC Davis20
Cal Poly28
September 22, 2012
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Mustangs Hold Off Late Aggie Rally
UC Davis jumped to an early 10-0 lead and then rallied with 10 points in the fourth quarter, but host Cal Poly scored 28 unanswered points in between to snap a three-game losing streak in the "Battle for the Golden Horseshoe" with a 28-20 win in the Big Sky Conference football opener for both teams.