Causeway Classic Brings Exciting End to 2013 Season

Tom Hemmingsen is the Aggies' leading receiver this season.

Nov. 19, 2013

UC Davis game notes | Live Audio | Twitter in-game updates

GAME 12 - 60th annual Causeway Classic
UC Davis (4-7, 4-3) at Sacramento State (5-6, 4-3)

Saturday, Nov. 23 • 3:30 pm • Sacramento, Calif.
Hornet Stadium (21,295; Field Turf)
TV - Comcast SportsNet California
Radio - KHTK (1140 AM) • Pregame begins at 3:00 pm
           KDVS (90.3 FM)
Live Video: None  
Live (Free) 

Series RecordUC Davis leads 42-18
Last MeetingNov. 17, 2012; Aggies won 34-30
Last Meeting Location: Davis, Calif.
Longest Aggie Win Streak: 18 (1970-87)
Longest Sac Win Streak: 5 (1988-91)
Last Aggie Win: 2012
Last UND Win: 11/21/09; 31-28 at Sacramento

The Aggies conclude their first season under head coach Ron Gould when they visit rival Sacramento State for the 60th annual Causeway Classic... UC Davis is trying for its fourh straight win in the series and its second in a row at Hornet Stadium... The last four games in the series have been separated by no more than four points... The Aggies are 4-3 in the Big Sky Conference and are guaranteed their first (at least) .500 league mark since 2010... Four conference wins are also their most since 2005... RB Gabe Manzanares continues to impress during his first season, rushing for 132 yards and posting 194 all-purpose yards last weekend against North Dakota... He's had six 100-yard games this season including four straight... Manzanares is currently seventh on the Aggies' single-season rushing list with 1,163 yards... K Brady Stuart made a career-high four field goals against UND - tying the school record - and has converted his last eight attempts... He was named the ROOT SPORTS Special Teams Player of the Week in the Big Sky for the second time this season.. UC Davis is averaging 149.1 rushing ypg., their highest average since 2002... DT Anthony Kaspar's blocked PAT last Saturday was his second blocked kick of the year and the Aggies' fourth.

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 Saturday's game.

Saturday's game will be televised by Comcast SportsNet California with BARRY TOMPKINS (play-by-play), MIKE LAMB (analyst) and KATE SCOTT (sidelines) on the call... A video stream through will not be available for this weekend’s game.

The Aggies and Hornets have been been playing every year since 1954, the longest consecutive active opponent on UC Davis' schedule... UC Davis holds a 42-18 overall lead in the series and is up 42-17 in the Causeway Classic (the teams also met in the 1988 NCAA Div. II Playoffs)... The Aggies have had winning streaks of 18 games (1970-88), eight games (2000-07), four games (1992-95) and three games twice, including a current three-year run... The last four games have each been decided by four points or less... K Brady Stuart kicked three field goals (31, 45, 20) and TE Taylor Sloat caught a go-ahead eight-yard TD pass from QB Randy Wright in the fourth quarter as the Aggies rallied to beat the Hornets, 34-27, at Aggie Stadium in 2012... It was UC Davis' special teams, however, that carried the day, highlighted by CB Jonathan Perkins' 81-yard kickoff return... Hornets QB GARRETT SAFRON threw for 324 yards.

The Hornets enter the 60th annual Causeway Classic on the heels of a record-setting performance at Portland State last weekend that saw QB GARRETT SAFRON throw for a school-record 554 yards along with four touchdowns in a last-minute 43-42 win... Three players - WR SHANE HARRISON (9-138), WR DeANDRE CARTER (5-133) and WR MORRIS NORRISE (7-128) - each had big receiving days... Carter had a 78-yard TD reception while TE COLE HIKUTINI's four-yard TD catch capped a 14-point rally in the fourth quarter... Sacramento State features a prolific passing attack that is ranked 19th among FCS teams at 279.6 ypg... Safron is ranked seventh nationally (second in the Big Sky) for passing TDs (27), ninth for total passing yards (3,068) and 11th for passing ypg. (278.9)... Carter's 14 receiving TDs are third in the FCS and second in the league... Safron is also effective running the ball which has helped him lead the Big Sky and rank seventh nationally in total offense (320.5)... He is the team's leading rusher with 458 yards and seven touchdowns... The Hornets average 420.2 ypg. of offense, 36th-best in FCS... On the other side of the ball, they're allowing 451.2 ypg. (101st in FCS), including 187.3 ypg. (79th) on the ground and 263.9 ypg. (109th) through the air... LB TODD DAVIS has 119 total tackles - 46 more than his closest teammate - which includes 10.0 TFLs and 5.0 sacks... His tackles lead the Big Sky and are seventh among all FCS players...  He also has two interceptions... LB DARNELL SANKEY had a team-high 6.0 sacks while DB OSAGIE ODIASE and DB ROBERT BEALE each have a team-best three picks... P JUSTIN WELDON (44.5 avg.) has been effective punting the ball... K BRAD CORNISH is 3 for 3 in field goals since taking over place-kicking duties.

The Aggies held the ball for 32:42, the fourth straight game they've held a time advantage and the eighth time this season... P Colby Wadman's 45.0 punt average was his best of the season... He had a long of 53 yards and put two inside the 20... He also ran for 24 yards on a fake punt in the third quarter, UC Davis' first fake since P RYAN CHRISTIE ran one in 1995 against Saint Mary's... FS CHARLES BOYETT had a career-long 44-yard punt return while CB Jonathan Perkins had a 72-yard kickoff return, the Aggies' longest kick return this season... UC Davis averaged 37.3 yards on three kick returns... Senior SS Earnest Sayles III had his first career interception and UC Davis' first since Oct. 5 against Southern Utah... The Aggies scored three times in a 25-second span early in the second quarter, picking up a 29-yard field goal from K Brady Stuart, a safety on the ensuing kickoff, and then a 17-yard TD run by RB Gabe Manzanares following Perkins' long kickoff return... UC Davis held UND to 60 rushing yards, the lowest for an opponent since Southern Utah's 45 yards, and the second-lowest of the season... The Aggies went 4 of 16 (.250) on third down, tying their second-lowest percentage of the year... All of their conversions came in the second half... UC Davis also went for it on fourth down twice, marking just the second game it's tried... QB Randy Wright's 263 passing yards were his second-most this year... He also went without an interception for the sixth time... DE Zak Pettit had his first two sacks as an Aggie while DT Anthony Kaspar had another... They were the team's first sacks since the Montana State game. 

QB Randy Wright will be starting his third Causeway Classic matchup... In his previous three games, he is 40-79-3 for 485 yards and three touchdowns... He threw a pair of touchdowns in 2010 and added another last season to TE Taylor Sloat, who has eight catches for 149 yards in his Causeway history... Sloat had a career-high seven catches for 109 yards in last year's win while catching the eventual game-winning eight-yard pass from Wright early in the fourth quarter... Defensively, CB Jonathan Perkins' interception at the 11-yard line with 21 seconds to go sealed the 2010 victory while his 81-yard kickoff return with eight seconds left before halftime last year gave the Aggies a 23-16 lead.

K Brady Stuart kicked field goals of 18, 29, 35 and 32 yards in Saturday's win over UND, leading to his second Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week honor this season, tying a school record last done in 2005... Stuart also earned the award after booting three versus Idaho State in September... Stuart is enjoying another strong season for the Aggies... After making seven of his first 14 attempts, he's converted his last eight in a row.. That's the best for an Aggie kicker since K Sean Kelley made eight straight to start the 2010 season... With 15 field goals this year, Stuart has tied himself from 2012 and also K Dusty Apocotos (2003) for second-most in a season, and needs just one to tie K EDDIE LORETTO who had 16 in 1985... Stuart's 22 attempts are a single-season record... Loretto is the career leader with 47 field goals with Stuart, only a sophomore, already nearly two-thirds to matching that.

UC Davis is ranked fourth nationally, allowing just 1.6 yards per punt return... Doing the math, that's only 29 total yards on 18 punt returns and just six total yards in the last five games which includes five "shutouts"... Freshman P Colby Wadman has been a big part of that success, averaging 41.6 yards over his last three games and picking up six fair catches over 14 punts in that span... He's also had a long punt of 53 yards vs. UND.

While teams espouse the desire to have a balanced attack, it doesn't always work out that way... Known primarily as a passing program over the years, the 2013 Aggies are showing that balance... They've only had one game (Nevada) with more runs than passes and are currently running the ball 54.9 percent of the time. 

WR Tom Hemmingsen, who missed last season because of injury, has surpassed his career-high 50 receptions from 2011 with 53 so far this season... He has 588 receiving yards and three touchdowns this year, giving him 116 receptions for 1,350 yards and 12 TDs in his career... Hemmingsen had a career-best 10 catches at Montana State... He needs nine more to move into the single-season top 10 and has an outside chance to reach 133 career grabs, moving him onto that career ledger.

QB Randy Wright has become the Aggies' career leader in both passing attempts and completions this season, 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 is now second all-time... He is also third in touchdowns (54) and is the second Aggie to go past 8,000 yards of total offense... Wright 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 40 career games.

DT Anthony Kaspar swatted an extra point against Portland State and added a blocked PAT against North Dakota last weekend, highlighting four blocked kicks by UC Davis this year... CB Jonathan Perkins came off the edge and blocked a field goal at Southern Utah while DT Kyle DeVaughn blocked an extra point at Montana State... The four blocks are the Aggies' most since picking up three in 2009.

With his fourth straight 100-yard game and sixth overall this season after gaining 132 yards against North Dakota, RB Gabe Manzanares added to his 1,000-yard season and now has 1,163 yards... He is currently seventh on UC Davis' single-season list and is only 145 from finishing the year as high as third... He has 232 carries, fourth-most in a season... Manzanares is the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Aggies since RB Matt Massari went for 1,274 yards in 2002... Manzanares has only missed one game this season (Nevada)... He's averaged 139.3 ypg. during his recent four-game string of 100-yard games... Manzanares is ranked 11th nationally in yards per game (116.3), 16th for total rushing yards (1,163) and is third in the Big Sky in both categories... He's also caught 23 receptions for 290 yards, pushing his all-purpose yardage to 145.3 ypg., up three spots to 18th nationally this week.

RB Gabe 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... 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 yards are 23rd... 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.

S CHARLES BOYETT and S AARYN JONES are first and T-2nd in the tackles department for UC Davis with 81 and 61, respectively... LB Steven Pitts is also T-2nd with 57 stops while DE Nick King has 57... Boyett leads the team with two forced fumbles, has four pass-breakups and has a team-high 48 solo tackles... He's highlighted his junior season with a career-high 14 tackles, including 11 solo, against Cal Poly... Both are season-high totals for the Aggies... Jones had a season-high nine tackles (8 solo) in the season opener at South Dakota, has a team-best two interceptions and is tied for third with four PBUs... Pitts has done a little bit of everything: TFLs (8.0-33), sacks (3.0-28), PBUs (3), fumble recoveries (1) and forced fumbles (1)... King has a team-high 6.0 sacks to go with his 57 total tackles and 6.5 TFLs... He's also recovered two fumbles and forced one while adding a PBU.

Here's where UC Davis ranks among FCS teams this week: (see PDF of notes)

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 3-1 since 1962 when playing on Nov. 23 with NCAA Div. II playoffs factoring in three of the games... Not only the most notable wins on this date but also in the history of the program occurred on Nov. 23, 1996 when the Aggies - who barely made the postseason brackets - went to Texas A&M-Kingsville and shocked the No. 1-ranked Javelinas, 17-14... QB MARK GRIEB, who went on to fame with the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League, helped engineer the upset with TD passes to TE WES TERRELL and TE AARON BUGARSKE... The Aggies eventually advanced to the semifinals that season... A 24-6 win at Central Washington in 2002 against the unbeaten Wildcats highlighted another postseason appearance, just two weeks after CWU had downed the Aggies n the regular season... UC Davis also had another playoff encounter with North Dakota State in 1985, losing 31-12 at Toomey Field... The final Nov. 23 win came at home against Cal State Fullerton (30-21) in 1974.

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
MONTANA STATE - DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, LB Steven Pitts, QB Randy Wright
NORTH DAKOTA -  DE Nick King, OL Jimmy Kunkel, CB Jonathan Perkins, FB Dalton Turay

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.
Nov. 4 - Offense: QB Garrett Safron, Sacramento State; Defense: CB Bijon Simoodi, Cal Poly; Special Teams: Shawn Johnson, Montana State.
Nov. 11 - Offense: QB Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington; Defense: S Matt Hermanson, Montana; CB LeShaun Sims, Southern Utah; Special Teams: R Ellis Henderson, Montana.
Nov. 18 - Offense: QB Garrett Safron, Sacramento State; Defense: LB Tyler Holley, Southern Utah; Special Teams - Brady Stuart, UC Davis.

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).

Sixteen Aggie seniors made their final appearance at Aggie Stadium on Saturday... The group was honored during pregame ceremonies... The 2013 senior class is comprised of DT Anthony Kaspar, DT Khalid Jones, TE WES O'BRIEN, TE Taylor Sloat, TE Cameron Sentance, OL Jimmy Kunkel, LS Joey Waters, S Earnest Sayles III, DE Nick King, QB Randy Wright, TE Ryan O'Holleran, CB Jonathan Perkins, DE Colin Kelly, WR TOMMY HEMMINGSEN, S AARYN JONES and CB Dre Allen

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' 2014 schedule features an eight-game Big Sky schedule and nonconference slate highlighted by a return trip to Stanford, the first for UC Davis since 2005.