Aggies continue Big Sky with No. 25 Northern Arizona

Patrick Wells has 23 tackles and an interception this season
Nov. 3, 2014

GAME 9 UC DAVIS (1-7, 0-5) at No. 25 NORTHERN ARIZONA (6-3, 4-1)
Saturday, Nov. 8 • 1 p.m. (PST) • Flagstaff, Ariz.
Walkup Skydome (10,849; indoors)
TV - Fox Sports AZ Plus
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 12:30 p.m.
Live video: www.WatchBigSky.com
Live audio: www.ucdavisaggies.com (Free) 
Live stats: www.naulumberjacks.com
Notes: UC Davis | Northern Arizona | Big Sky

 

 

OPENING KICKOFF
Thanks to Northern Arizona's win at Weber State on Saturday that returned the Lumberjacks to the Sports Network top 25, UC Davis will face its fourth ranked NCAA Div. I FCS team this season when it travels to Flagstaff this weekend, and its fifth ranked team overall when Stanford is included... WR Ramon Vargas continues to be a bright spot for the Aggies, extending his consecutive streak of 100-yard receiving games to four after nine receptions for 122 yards against Northern Colorado... He's one shy of the school record... QB Ben Scott threw for 301 yards, giving him a pair of 300-yard efforts in his first three starts... UC Davis has more giveaways than takeaways for the first time at any point this season (10-9) after two turnovers on Saturday... Opponents have not had a turnover in the past three games while the Aggies have four... UC Davis continues to be one of the least penalized teams in the FCS, ranking fourth in penalties per game (4.4) and 16th in penalty yards (44.1)... The Aggies are also moving up the passing efficiency ladder, ranking 20th with a 141.1 rating... The Aggies will be looking to end a six-game losing streak, the program's longest since dropping the final two games of the 1964 season and the first five of 1965... UC Davis hasn't lost six in a row in the same season since starting 0-6 in 1960 and eventually finishing 0-8-1... It's also trying to avoid its first seven-game losing streak since 1959 when it was 1-8.
RADIO/INTERNET AUDIO COVERAGE
Saturday's game will be aired on KHTK-Radio (1140 AM)... Veteran broadcaster BARRY TOMPKINS (play-by-play), UC Davis alum SCOTT MARSH (analysis) and DOUG KELLY (analysis) will call the action for the Aggies... The pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m. and will be streamed (free) on www.ucdavisaggies.com.
TELEVISION/INTERNET VIDEO COVERAGE
It will also be shown on Fox Sports AZ Plus with NAU broadcaster MITCH STROHMAN on the call... Saturday's game is also available through www.WatchBigSky.com... There is no charge to watch the game and an app is available to access the video stream on mobile devices, in addition to computers... All Big Sky games, except for those televised by ROOT Sports, are available through the service... All UC Davis games this year are available for viewing either by internet stream or television.
ALL-TIME SERIES
The Aggies and Lumberjacks didn't start playing each other until 2012 with NAU posting wins in the only two meetings that have occured, including the inaugural meeting in Flagstaff... UC Davis struggled offensively in the 21-7 loss but trailed just 7-0 at halftime... RB Courtney Williams scored from two yards midway through the fourth quarter and the Aggies had a chance to get within seven points after a quick turnover, but were stopped on four downs near the goal line to end the threat... Last year's meeting was a nonconference matchup... UC Davis led 10-7 late but LB LUCKY DOZIER (78 yds) and CB MARCUS ALFORD (42 yds) had pick-six returns to key NAU's 21-10 comeback win.
ABOUT THE NORTHERN ARIZONA LUMBERJACKS
After starting the season 2-2, the Lumberjacks have vaulted themselves back into the Big Sky race by winning four of their past five games, including three straight... They're doing it with the help of an offense ranked 28th in FCS (433.3) that includes a passing attack that's ranked 17th (267.4)... NAU surrendered a 22-0 first-quarter lead at winless Weber State on Saturday but then rallied with 22 of its own to forge a halftime tie... RB NICK BUTLER plunged in from a yard out in the third quarter for the winning points in the 29-22 win... The Lumberjacks are averaging 165.9 ypg. on the ground with three RBs - CASEY JAHN (713 yds, 4 TD), MARQUICE PAIGE (349 yds, 2 TD) and CORBIN JOUNTI (340 yds, 4 TD) - each seeing significant action... Three different QBs have thrown at least 36 passes with KYREN POE (1,139 yds, 5 TD) and CHASE CARTWRIGHT (868 yds, 9 TDs) getting the majority of the snaps... The Lumberjacks also have a deep receiving corps led by WR IFY UMODU (32-486, 3 TD) and WR ALEX HOLMES (32-474, 3 TD) leading seven players with at least 13 catches and 163 yards... Holmes has also thrown touchdowns on each of the three passes he's attempted... The offense does a good job keeping possession, sporting the fifth-best time-of-possession (33:09) in the FCS... NAU's defense allows 393.2 ypg. (66th) but has been stingy against the pass, allowing only 170.3 ypg. (18th)... LB AUSTIN HASQUET has a team-high 75 tackles and CB MARCUS ALFORD has three interceptions - one which he returned for a score - along with 8 PBUs... K RYAN HAWKINS is 9 for 12 on field goals including going 5 for 6 from between 40-49 yards... He has had three kicks blocked, however... The Lumberjacks have also been very effective on fourth down, converting 10 of 13 tries (2nd in FCS, .769).
NOTES FROM NORTHERN COLORADO
The Aggies first three drives of the game were comprised of two three-and-outs for a total of 11 yards and another drive of seven plays for 34 yards... All ended with punts before a 14-play, 86-yard drive closed out the half... UC Davis was shut out in the first half for the third time this season (Stanford, Portland State)... The Aggies shut out an opponent in the first quarter for just the second time (Fort Lewis) while ending a string of nine straight quarters of opponents scoring... LB Steven Pitts missed his third consecutive game due to injury, giving two of the team's starting linebackers (Ryan Dimino is the other) a combined 10 missed games.... UC Davis was held to its second-lowest rushing total (51 yds) but had its second 300-yard passing game by QB Ben Scott in the past three... RB Gabe Manzanares had 50 rushing yards but was the only Aggie with more than five... P Colby Wadman put all four his punts inside the 20... Only one return was attempted, two were fair-caught and the other was downed... UNC had given up 43 sacks entering the game but UC Davis was only able to pick up one; that coming by DE Zak Pettit for a five-yard loss in the second quarter... Pettit finished with a career-high 3.0 TFLs for 10 yards... S CHARLES BOYETT had a season-high 10 tackles, including a TFL... The Bears held the ball for 37:44, most by an opponent this season... UC Davis drove 49 yards in six plays with 51 seconds left, putting itself in a position to beat UNC on a last-second touchdown for the second time in the last seven seasons... Two incompletions followed by an interception with four seconds to go by DB TREVOR DOUGLASS ended the final Aggie threat. 
FINN TO ENTER NORTHERN ARIZONA HALL OF FAME ON FRIDAY NIGHT
UC Davis offensive line coach Dan Finn will have more than just the Aggies' game against Northern Arizona on his mind on Friday... That's because the two-time All-America selection and three-time All-Big Sky first-team pick will be inducted into the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday evening... Finn is in his first year with the Aggies after having joined the program after serving on the staff at Utah... He was a standout for the Lumberjacks, being named to All-America teams by the Sports Network (1996-97), AFCA (1997), Walter Camp Foundation (1997) and Football Gazette (1996)... Finn was the key on an offensive line that had a 2,000-yard rusher (ARCHIE AMERSON) and 3,000-yard passer (TRAVIS BROWN) in 1996, the only NCAA team to achieve that distinction... Finn later played with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos as well as in NFL Europe.
AGGIES LOOKING FOR MORE TAKEAWAYS
UC Davis did a good job through the first five games of the season, turning the ball over just six times... The Aggies didn't have any against Fort Lewis or Colorado State... Entering last week's game against Northern Colorado, UC Davis still found itself with a positive turnover margin (0.13)... However, the Bears became the third straight opponent to go without a turnover while the Aggies had two, both inside the final four minutes of the game... UC Davis' turnover margin is now -0.13... The Aggies have not had a takeaway since CB PATRICK WELLS' interception with 12:22 left in the third quarter at Portland State on Oct. 4, a span of nearly 14 quarters... On the positive side, UC Davis' 10 total turnovers this season ranks it 14th in the FCS.
RED-ZONE TRENDS REVERSING
The Aggies made just three combined trips into the red-zone against Eastern Washington and Portland State, going 2 for 3 while scoring just 14 points... They've begun to swing the momentum the other way, going 9 for 12 in the last three games including a 4-for-4 performance at Montana when they scored 28 points... For the year, UC Davis is 18 of 28 (78.3%)... Opponents, meanwhile, made an average of 5.5 red-zone trips midseason (CSU, EWU, PSU, MSU) while scoring 106 points, but have seven total the past two games... The last two games have totaled 34 points... Aggie opponents are 28 of 38 (73.7%) for the season, ranking UC Davis in a tie for 20th nationally and placing it first in the Big Sky Conference.
MANZANARES RETURNS TO RUSHING FORM
RB Gabe Manzanares had seven 100-yard rushing games last season, including a 208-yard effort against Idaho State to start the streak and five straight to end the year on his way to Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors... A preseason foot injury slowed his start this fall but he's seen action in the last six games, adding 100-yard efforts against Montana State (179) and Montana (119)... With 1,662 career yards, Manzanares is now No. 9 all-time at UC Davis... He has RB SHAWN RODGERS (1,812, 1981-83) and RB Matt Massari (1814, 2001-02) in his sights... His 53-yard TD run against Montana State on Oct. 11 was a career-best... Manzanares also had 332 career attempts, ranking ninth also.
SCOTT CLOSE TO 1,000 PASSING YARDS IN FIRST THREE STARTS
QB Ben Scott's Aggie career consisted of five passing attempts against Fort Lewis early this season... He took over starting duties against Montana State and in three games has already posted a pair of 300-yard efforts (379 vs. Montana State; 301 vs. Northern Colorado)... (see Scott's game-by-game totals on pg. 25 of the game notes)... Scott's yards against MSU are T-23rd for most in an Aggie game and are the most by a UC Davis quarterback in their debut as a starter... His longest pass was a 58-yarder to WR Ramon Vargas down the right sideline at Montana... Scott has completed 60 percent of his passes for 997 yards (937 as starter), along with 11 TDs (4 each vs. MSU and Montana)... Scott added a 32-yard run against Montana State, the longest by an Aggie quarterback since J.T. O'SULLIVAN in 2000. 
VARGAS NEARING SCHOOL RECORD
WR Ramon Vargas worked his way up the depth chart this season, making his season debut at Portland State... Despite having just one career catch entering that game, he's quickly become QB Ben Scott's go-to receiver, compiling 29 receptions for 445 yards and 5 TDs in his four games, all best on the team... He has strung together three straight 100-yard games, becoming the first to do so since former WR Sean Creadick had a school-record tying four in a row in 2010... Going past the century effort this week will also tie him with WR TONY KAYS (2005) and WR Michael Oliva (2001) for the Aggie record.  
UC DAVIS LEADS BIG SKY IN GRADUATION RATE
When the Aggies made the move to NCAA Div. I status in 2007-08, it was clear that academic achievement was going to be at the forefront of the reclassification... Football student-athletes that entered UC Davis that year took that to heart, posting an 82 pct. graduation success rate, according to figures released by the NCAA on Oct. 28... The Aggies' GSR is the highest in the Big Sky Conference... Overall, UC Davis posted an 88 pct. GSR for all of its student-athletes... It's the highest GSR in the Big West, the Aggies' primary athletics home.
FBS ON SLATE FOR 10TH STRAIGHT YEAR
UC Davis is 2-12 since starting to play FBS teams regularly in 2005 and 3-11 against FBS/I-A programs since 1986 (W,45-41 vs. Pacific).(see right) 
GOULD HAS MENTORED TOP RUNNING BACKS
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, (Baltimore Ravens), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots), Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions) and Will Ta'ufo'ou (Jacksonville Jaguars).
NOTABLE NUMBERS
The Aggies are 22-19 (.537) all-time at Aggie Stadium... Their best season at the stadium was a 5-1 mark in 2008... UC Davis has an all-time record of 498-389-33 (.560) dating back to its first season in 1915... 70.5 percent of the all-time wins have come since 1970: JIM SOCHOR (156), BOB FOSTER (30), Bob Biggs (144) and Ron Gould (5)... UC Davis is in its 96th season of football...Gould is 6-14 overall: 0-2 in August, 2-5 in September, 2-5 in October and 2-1 in November, 3-7 at home, 3-8 on the road, 4-10 in day games, 2-4 in night games, and 5-8 in the Big Sky Conference... He is the 16th coach in the history of the program. 
NOTABLE PROGRAM STREAKS
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)
PRESEASON ACCOLADES  
Several Aggies were recognized by various media outlets during the annual parade of preseason honors... The list includes FB Dalton Turay who 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
AGGIES IN THE NFL
UC Davis currently has two players on NFL rosters - TE Daniel Fells and P Colton Schmidt... Fells in his sixth NFL season and currently plays for the N.Y. Football Giants, his fourth club... He is in his first year with the Giants and has scored four touchdowns already... Fells, who played for UC Davis from 2003-05 while earning All-Great West Conference honors, has 101 career receptions as a pro for 1,191 yards and 12 touchdowns... Schmidt was an All-Big Sky selection during his senior season in 2012 when he posted a school-record 44.5 avg... He spent the last two preseasons with the San Francisco 49ers before being winning the starting job prior to the Buffalo Bills' season opener... Schmidt is averaging 43.7 yards per kick and also serves as the team's holder.
COACHING TREE HAS MANY LIMBS
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 (Washington) 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 and was named this week as the head coach of the USA football team, Aggie player MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon) was a highly successful collegiate coach, former player NICK ALIOTTI was longtime 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 Paul, 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... Former Aggie assistant coach Mike Moroski, who also spent time in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, is currently the head coach at the College of Idaho which is revived football and is playing its first season in 37 years in 2014.
COMING UP
UC Davis will finish the 2014 season with two rivalry games beginning next week at Cal Poly with The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe... The Aggies lead the series, 19-18-2 and will be looking for their first win in San Luis Obispo since 2010... UC Davis will then return home for the 61st Causeway Classic against Sacramento State on Nov. 22 at Aggie Stadium... The Aggies have won five straight in that series and own a 42-18 lead in the Causeway Classic (43-18 overall).