Nov. 16, 2010
UC Davis Game Notes | Listen
57th Annual Causeway Classic
Presented by UC Davis Children's Hospital
Sacramento State (6-4)
UC Davis (5-5)
Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
4 p.m. Davis, Calif.
Aggie Stadium (10,849)
KHTK Radio (1140 AM) Comcast Sportsnet KDVS Radio (90.3 FM)
News, notes and headline items to get things started... Many will be expanded later on in these notes.
UC Davis caps the regular season against rival Sacramento State for the second straight year and 14th time overall when the Hornets visit Aggie Stadium on Saturday... The Aggies are 8-5 in the previous such matchups with the Hornets' win last year snapping a six-game losing streak in finales dating back to 1963.
The Aggies are looking to secure their second straight winning season and 39th in the past 40 years... They had a run of 37 consecutive winning campaigns, the first of which in 1970 celebrates its 40-year anniversary this season.
The Hornets' current two-game winning streak against the Aggies is their longest since they won five in a row between 1998-91... Included in those games was a matchup in the 1988 NCAA Div. II Playoffs (Sac, 35-14), the only non-Causeway Classic series game between the two teams.
UC Davis is playing its second straight "rivalry" game after beating then No. 19/18 Cal Poly 22-21 last weekend in San Luis Obispo in "The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe".
The Aggies swept Great West Conference Offensive (QB Randy Wright), Defense (LB Byron Gruendl) and Special Teams (K Sean Kelley) Player of the Week honors last weekend for the first time this season... They are the only league team to have swept the awards in 2010.
Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright threw for a career-high 302 yards at Cal Poly, the Aggies' first 300-yard game since Greg Denham posted 307 at Sacramento State last year.
WR Sean Creadick has seven touchdown receptions over his past four games, including five in the past two.
K Sean Kelley's three field goals last weekend moved him to No. 2 all-time at UC Davis with 34, trailing only EDDIE LORETTO (1985-88) who had 47.
UC Davis received votes for The Sports Network (media, SID's) poll for the first time since Oct. 25, and at T-49th, occupies its highest unofficial ranking since coming in at T-37th in the preseason.
The Aggies are 9 for 9 in the red-zone over their past three games and have scored 46 points... At 90% this season, they are seventh among FCS teams.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SACRAMENTO STATE
UC Davis leads the all-time series between the programs, 39-18, a total that includes a 1988 NCAA Playoff win by the Hornets.
The Aggies are 17-8 against Hornets in games played at UC Davis, including an 0-1 mark at Aggie Stadium... That 2008 win by the Hornets at Aggie Stadium snapped an eight-game winning streak by UC Davis in the series.
UC Davis also won a series-best 18 straight games from 1970-87 and also won four in a row from 1992-95.
The Hornets' longest streak in the series came when they captured five in a row from 1988-91 which included their win in the playoffs.
The winning team has not scored less than 29 points since the Aggies had a rain-soaked 13-10 victory in 2000.
Last season, WR BRANDYN REED caught a 13-yard pass from QB McLEOD BETHEL THOMPSON with just 20 seconds left as Sacramento State rallied for a 31-28 at home.
WR Bakari Grant had given UC Davis a 28-17 lead with 12:17 remaining when he caught a 39-yard pass from QB Greg Denham but RB JAKE CROXDALE's two-yard run started the Hornets' comeback.
More Causeway Classic information is on page 6.
Bob Biggs (UC Davis `73) is in his 18th season at the helm of the Aggies and his 33rd with the program overall.
He owns a 135-71-1 (.655) overall record and is 60-17-1 (.776) at home... Biggs is 42-18 (.700) in the month of November and 13-4 (.765) in 17 previous Causeway Classics.
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.
Biggs has coached more games than anyone in program history.
Four of Biggs' QB's have gone on to play professional football, including current San Diego backup 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.
MARSHALL SPERBECK (Nevada `84) is 20-24 (.455) and in his fourth year at Sacramento State where he won more overall and conference games over his first three seasons than any other coach in school history.
Sperbeck joined the Hornets after compiling a 109-53 (.673) over a 15-year career at Foothill College, leading his team to 11 bowl games.
Sperbeck is 2-1 in Causeway Classic matchups.
BRIEF SACRAMENTO STATE SCOUTING REPORT
The Hornets enter the game after posting a 5-3 record in the Big Sky Conference, tied for their best since joining the league... They were also 5-3 in 2000... Sacramento State also assured itself of its first winning record since 2000 (7-4) and its third since joining Div. I... The other came in 1999 (6-5).
Sacramento State's three league losses have been to the three teams ahead of them in the standings (Montana State, Eastern Washington and Montana)... It beat Weber State, which it is tied with for fourth.
The Hornets are doing it with a prolific offense that is ranked 12th nationally and second in the Big Sky in scoring (33.7), and is 39th among FCS teams for rushing (167.4) and 33rd for passing (226.2).
That offense was on display last weekend at Idaho State when it rolled up 451 yards, including 289 through the air, during a 45-17 win over the Bengals... Sacramento State had 25 first downs, averaged 6.0 yards per play and held the ball for 36:25.
WR CHASE DEDDER had six catches for 102 yards and 2 TD's... He is averaging just 3.6 receptions through 10 games but is 27th nationally for yards (78.4)... WR MORRIS NORRISE has 35 for 532 yards and a team-best eight touchdowns.
QB JEFF FLEMING has thrown for 2,037 yards and 21 touchdowns with 10 interceptions... His 148.7 efficiency rating is eightih among FCS signal-callers... Fleming also runs the ball well and has 311 yards and a pair of scores... His 234.8 ypg of total offense ranks him 30th.
RB BRYAN HILLIARD has received most of the work carrying the ball with 883 yards and 12 touchdowns but he did not play at Idaho State because of injury... He is not listed on the Hornets' two--deep for this week... RB SAM McCOWAN, who has 196 yards but is averaging 5.2 per carry, is scheduled to get the start this week.
Sacramento State scored touchdowns on four of its first six possessions last weekend, holding the ball for nearly 11 minutes of the first quarter and taking a 28-3 halftime lead.... Dedder had both of his TD catches (2 and 8 yards) in the first half.
The Hornets' defense has also been effective, particularly against the rush where it is 25th nationally (121.1), including allowing just eight yards on 21 carries against Idaho State.
The pass defense is allowing 230.9 ypg, 91st among FCS teams, while its overall defense (352.1 is ranked 59th... The Bengals managed just 243 total yards and only got inside the red-zone twice.
A big part of that defense is DE ZACH NASH who set Big Sky and Sacramento State records with five sacks last weekend and earned player of the week honors from the league... He's averaging 1.1 pg and is ranked sixth in the FCS... Nash has 13 sacks overall.
LB PETER BUCK has 90 total tackles, including 48 solo, to help pace the defense while S ZACH SCHRADER has 75... Four players have two interceptions each including DB KYLE MONSON who returned a pick 70 yards for a TD against Stanford in the season-opener.
DL DAVID COLEMAN and Nash have also been around the ball a lot, recovering five and three fumbles, respectively.
The defense has also put up strong games against Northern Arizona (166 total yards) and Northern Colorado (238).
K CHRIS DINIZ has had an impressive year, making just 12 of 13 field goal tries including his first eight of the year... He had four at Montana in September... His only miss came from 52 yards in OT during the Hornets' epic battle with Montana State (64-61).
NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE CAL POLY GAME
UC Davis was held to just 24 rushing yards on 27 carries, its second-lowest total of the season behing its 14 yards at Cal in the opener... QB Randy Wright had the Aggies' longest run against the Mustangs, scrambling 12 yards in the third quarter... Only three of the team's 22 first downs came on the ground.
Wright was sacked a season-high five times and has been brought down 17 times over the past five games.
WR Anthony Soto had four catches for 70 yards, including a key 42-yard gain just prior to WR Sean Creadick's 16-yard TD in the fourth quarter, and has 10 for 141 yards over his past two games.
Wright was 7 for 7 for 67 yards on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, converting a pair of third-down plays... TE Dean Rogers had three catches for 44 yards on that drive which began on the Aggies' 30.
That possession was set up when the defense came up big on fourth down, stopping RB MARK RODGERS for no gain on a pitch to the right on fourth-and-one... DT Victor Lee was credited with the stop that came after the Mustangs had marched from their own 34 and had converted their first two third-down tries... LB Dozie Amajoyi halted WR DOMINIQUE JOHNSON just shy of the first-down marker after a short completion prior to the big fourth-down effort.
P Colton Schmidt averaged 41.8 yards on six kicks, putting three boots inside the 20 including a 48-yarder that went out of bounds at the 3 and a 34-yarder that was downed at the 1, both in the second quarter.
The Aggies punted their first five drives, with none of those possessions lasting more than five plays and covering more than 12 yards... They scored on all three of their fourth-quarter drives... The Aggies' longest drive was its 11-play, 69-yarder that was capped with Creadick's winning score.
UC Davis' failed attempt for two points after Creadick's 16-yard TD in the fourth quarter was its first attempt of the year and first since K Emmanuel Benjamin found WR Bakari Grant during the 2007 Causeway Classic.
The Aggies went without a turnover for the third time this season (Weber State, San Jose State).
LB Byron Gruendl, the Great West Defensive Player of the Week, had his first career interception during the third quarter and tied a career-high (San Jose State) with nine tackles.
UC Davis had the ball for just 12:26 of the first half but held it for 17:09 of the second.
RB JAKE ROMANELLI scored on a pair of one-yard runs on Cal Poly's first two drives which covered 82 and 66 yards, respectively, which made it 14-0 in the first quarter... The 14 points surrendered matched the South Alabama game as the most given up by UC Davis in the opening period.
THIRD DOWN A TOUGH DOWN FOR AGGIES
UC Davis is ranked 102nd among FCS teams in third-down percentage, converting just 30.5% (40 for 131) so far this season.
The Aggies were 3 of 13 overall against Cal Poly and were 0 for 8 before QB Randy Wright hit WR Sean Creadick on a 16-yard completion in third quarter for their first of the game.
UC Davis made them when they counted, though, converting a pair of third downs during the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
BIG PLAYS COME ALIVE DURING LAST OF 2010
UC Davis had just two plays of any kind longer than 40 yards prior to the seventh game of the season, both of them coming against Portland State (Corbin Cutshaw 53-yd KO return; RB Nick Aprile 50-yd reception).
They've had six other such since then and they've all come over the past three games... The longest was a 50-yard TD pass from QB Randy Wright to WR Sean Creadick while the most recent was Wright's 42-yard pass to WR Anthony Soto.
For the season, UC Davis has had 18 plays that have gone 30 yards or longer, 14 of them coming via the pass and the other four on kick returns.
The longest rush of the year was Aprile's 24-yard jaunt against Portland State; he and Creadick both have 50-yard catches from Wright, and Cutshaw's kick return against the Vikings is tops.
Saturday marks the final game for 14 Aggie seniors: LB Dozie Amajoyi, LB Marshall Congdon, WR Sean Creadick, FS Jeff Freeman, SS Danny Hart, T Reggie Mason, DE Tom McConnell, CB Marcus North, TE Dean Rogers, DE Eric Sobotka, OL Brandon Sofley, T Mark Tos, RB Joe Trombetta and RB Brandon Tucker.
AGGIES AMONG LEADERS IN TURNOVER RATIO
The Aggies were ranked 68th in turnover ratio at -0.5 per game after just three games but since then have done a good job protecting the ball.
In the seven games since, QB Randy Wright has thrown just three interceptions - never more than one in a game - while UC Davis has lost just two fumbles -- again, not more than once in a game.
The result has been a big jump in the national rankings where UC Davis enters the weekend T-22nd at 0.60.
The Aggies did not have any turnovers against Weber State or San Jose State, marking the first time in more than two decades they've gone back-to-back games without any miscues.
The Hornets have also done a good job, ranking T-19th in turnover ratio at 0.70.
WRIGHT GROWS UP FAST WITH AGGIES
The departure of QB Greg Denham after spring practice this year opened the door for a competitive battle for starting duties which was eventually won by redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright.
Wright made his Aggie debut in the opener at Cal, the first freshman to get the signal-calling nod in a season-opener since Ryan Flanigan started in 2000. (Flanigan started just one game that season).
Wright has enjoyed a productive season for the Aggies, averaging 229.9 ypg through his 10 starts while throwing 15 TD's against just seven interceptions.
He has completed at least 20 passes in six games and has thrown for at least 260 in five, including setting career-bests each of the last three weekends, capping his run with 302 yards at Cal Poly last week.
Wright went 126 consecutive passes without an interception including three full games (Weber State, San Jose State and South Dakota) and parts of two others.
He's compiled 2,299 yards and has completed 58.7 percent of his passes.
CREADICK PUTTING UP CAREER NUMBERS
Despite being the primary target for defenses in the Aggies' aerial attack, WR Sean Creadick continues to put up a strong senior season which has already seen him post five 100-yard games, four of them with at least seven catches.
His 100-yard games:
- Sept. 25 (Weber St.) - 9 rec., 100 yds
- Oct. 9 (So. Dakota) - 7 rec., 100 yds
- Oct. 23 (So. Alabama) - 12 rec., 147 yds.
- Oct. 30 (So. Utah) - 9 rec., 134 yds, 1 TD
- Nov. 6 (No. Dakota) - 4 rec., 102 yds, 3 TD's
Creadick's catches and yards against South Alabama both marked career-best totals... His TD's at North Dakota are his best.
His previous best for catches were 10 against Montana last year (the same game that WR Chris Carter set a school record with 18) while his previous high for yards were 100 against both Weber State and South Dakota.
Creadick has 52 receptions for 843 yards in his last seven games, including the five 100-yard efforts.
The standout senior has at least 36 more receptions than the next two Aggies on this year's list - TE Dean Rogers (28) and WR Anthony Soto (26).
For his career, he has 131 receptions for 1,763 yards... Creadick is 10th on the Aggies' career receptions chart and needs 170 yards to break the top-10 list for yards.
Creadick is ninth on the single-season list for receptions (66) and 14 yards from cracking single-season Aggie list for yards... His four straight 100-yard games earlier this year mark the first time an Aggie has done that since WR TONY KAYS did to start 2005.
Creadick is ranked 13th in the FCS for catches (6.4 pg) and 14th for yards (88.2 pg).
He was named on Nov. 8 as the Great West's top wide receiver for Week 10 by College Performance Awards.
GLASS BREAKING IN WELL WITH UC DAVIS
LB Jordan Glass is in his first year with the UC Davis defense after tranferring from Utah State where he played two years.
He played just three games as a sophomore there but had 26 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs during his limited action before missing the remainder of the season with an injury.
Since joining UC Davis, he's moved into a starting linebacker role where he is third with 62 total tackles , including 3.5 TFL's.
Glass, from nearby Elk Grove, has three times posted eight tackles including most recently against Southern Utah, leading the team in stops for the second straight week.
His 28 solo stops rank third on the team.
CAREER RECORDS UPDATE
Junior K Sean Kelley has 34 career field goals, putting him two ahead of RAFAEL HERNANDEZ (1981-84)... EDDIE LORETTO (1985-88) holds the school record with 47.
Kelley is also T-5th in attempts (43), and 6th for PAT's made (98) and attempted (99).
RB Joe Trombetta is 8th with 391 career rushing attempts and 9th with 1,622 rushing yards.
YOUTH IS SERVED THROUGHOUT AGGIE LINEUP
UC Davis has plenty of talented youthfulness playing critical roles on both sides of the line with 12 starting positions entering this week's game occupied by either redshirt freshman (one) or sophomores (10).
A total of 26 starting and backup spots on the Aggies' two-deep going into this week's game are filled by underclassmen.
GREAT WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
RB Josh Reese was named the Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against San Diego on Sept. 18.
Reese rushed 13 times for 104 yards (8.0 avg.), scoring from 12 yards in the first quarter and from 17 yards in the fourth... It was his first career game with two touchdowns.
It was also his second career 100-yard rushing game, the other coming at Southern Utah last year when he had 101... That was also the last such game for the Aggies overall.
The award was Reese's first conference honor and also the first of the season for the team... For the year, he leads UC Davis with 137 rushing yards and has caught 10 passes for 71 yards... His receptions rank second on the team.
LB Marshall Congdon earned Defensive Player of Week honors on Sept. 26 after a career-high 14 tackle (8 solo) against Weber State... Included were 2.0 TFL's for seven yards.
P Colton Schmidt averaged 39.1 yards on seven punts at San Jose State, including booting a 62-yarder, earning Special Teams Player of the Week accolades on Oct. 3... His program-best 78-yarder and a 46.6 average at North Dakota helped him repeat on Nov. 7... He earned the award as a freshman in 2009 as well.
UC Davis swept the awards on Nov. 14 with QB Randy Wright (302 yds, 2 TDs), LB Byron Gruendl (9 tackles, 1 int), and K Sean Kelley (3 FG's) earning recognition after the victory at Cal Poly.
The Aggies were the first GWC team to sweep in 2010.
TOS ANCHORS YOUNG OFFENSIVE LINE
T Mark Tos has been a mainstay on the offensive line for UC Davis, starting all 11 games at right tackle last year and pushing his consecutive starting streak to 44 consecutive games after picking up 10 more this year... Tos is not listed on the depth chart this week (injury) putting that streak in jeopardy.
His durability has helped earn him All-Great West Conference second-team accolades in 2008 and first-team honors last year... It's also helped put him on the national radar with Phil Steele's College Football Preview and The Sports Network each naming him to their preseason All-America third teams.
The Sports Network also selected him as one of its Top 10 returning offensive lineman for 2010.
Longevity on the line is not a stranger at UC Davis... C Tommy Hernandez, who was mini-camp last spring with the Minnesota Vikings, finished his career last year with 34 straight starts... G Jonathan Compas, most recently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, started all 40 of his career games before finishing in 2008, while G Mario Gonzalez ended his career at the same time with 34 straight starts.
STREAKS OF NOTE
UC Davis saw its streak of 212 games in which it had scored a point come to an end at Fresno State (L,51-0) in last year's season-opener... The last shutout prior to that was a 19-0 defeat to Cal Poly in 1990... The streak nearly ended in 2001 when the Aggies faced North Dakota in the postseaso but UND took a safety late in the game, helping the Aggies' preserve the streak... North Dakota won 14-2.
They have, however, not been shut out in 112 straight home games. (includes "home" games at Hughes Stadium during Causeway Classic).
A long streak came to an end in this year's opener at Cal after the Aggies were held to just 81 total yards... It's believed to be the first time they had less than 200 yards in total offense since a 30-12 loss to Nevada in 1969, a streak that ends at 442 games... UC Davis had 130 in that game.
UC DAVIS TO MOVE TO BIG SKY CONFERENCE
UC Davis announced on Sept. 7 it had accepted an offer to join the Big Sky Conference for the sport of football only with anticipated competition in the newly expanded league to start for the Aggies in 2012.
The move will benefit the football program in scheduling (an expected eight games - at least - will be provided with Big Sky competition), travel will be mostly regional, helping with cost-containment concerns, and rivalries will either be created or strengthened.
The Big Sky also offers an automatic berth to the NCAA Div. I FCS Championships, marking the first time that UC Davis has been in a league with an automatic qualification.
The Aggies joined the Big Sky with current Great West Conference member Cal Poly... Both institutions are joining for football only and remain committed members of the Big West Conference which is home to a majority of their other sports.
It was announced last week that fellow GWC members North Dakota and Southern Utah will also join the Big Sky in 2012 but do so in all sports.
Causeway Classic rival Sacramento State - which UC Davis has played annually since 1954 - is a member of the Big Sky which will consist of 11 of the 13 scholarship football programs in the West once it expands.
It'll be the fourth conference in the 92-year history of the program: Far Western (1925-81), Northern California Athletic Conference (1982-92), American West Conference (1993) and its current Great West Conference (since 2004).
UC Davis is 11-9 versus Big Sky competition since the start of the 2004 season and has games scheduled this year against Portland State (L,41-33), Weber State (L,9-20)) and Sacramento State (Nov. 20).
Current members of the Big Sky are: Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State.
AGGIE COACHING TREE INCLUDES BIG NAMES
Besides becoming the all-time winningest coach at UC Davis, former mentor JIM SOCHOR has several former players and assistants who have gone to notable college or pro coaching careers, including:
MIKE BELLOTTI (Oregon, former head coach), who played for Sochor in 1969-72 and was a subsequent assistant coach.
DAN HAWKINS (Colorado, former head coach) played for UC Davis in 1981-82, was later an assistant with the Aggies and subsequently was head coach at Boise State .
CHRIS PETERSEN (Boise State, head coach), who played for UC Davis in 1985-86 and was also an assistant... He has led Boise State to national prominence including unbeaten years in 2006 and 2009.
PAUL HACKETT (Oakland Raiders, asst. coach), who played from 1966-68, was an assistant at UC Davis as well a head coach at USC, Pittsburgh and an assistant with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
UC Davis owns an all-time record of 483-361-33 (.570) as it plays its 92nd 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 12-7 including a 4-1 mark last season... Portland State's win earlier this season snapped a modest four-game winning streak at the facility.
AGGIE QUARTERBACK LEGACY HAS LONG LIST
The Aggies' coaching tree is just one trademark of the football program... The other is its ability to turn out prolific quarterbacks.
Despite being a Div. II program until 2007, UC Davis has had six signal-callers chosen in the NFL Draft since 1979: Mike Moroski (Falcons, `79), KEN O'BRIEN (Jets, `83), SCOTT BARRY (49ers, `85), JEFF BRIDEWELL (Cardinals, `91), Kevin Daft (Titans, `99) and J.T. O'SULLIVAN (Saints, `02).
O'Sullivan has played with several teams and is currently a backup with San Diego, Moroski is in his 23rd year on the Aggies' coaching staff and Daft is an assistant coach at Cal.
O'Brien was a member of the famed NFL QB class of `83 that also included Dan Marino, John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly and Tony Eason being drafted in the first round.
In addition to the draftees, QB KHARI JONES (1991-93) enjoyed a prolific career in the Canadian Football League and was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in `01.
QB MARK GRIEB (1994-96) was an ArenaBowl MVP and champion with the San Jose Sabercats and holds several league passing records.
QB Jon Grant (2003-06) was a member of the Berlin Adler whose team won the 21st German Bowl in 2009... He was the Aggies' signal-caller when they drove for the winning touchdown against Stanford in 2005.
Even current coach Bob Biggs played some professional football spending some time in the CFL and the WFL before joining the Aggies' staff.