UC Davis saved its worst game for a rainy day.
In wet weather at Parsons Field, the Aggies turned the ball over six times and saw their early lead slip away as Northeastern scored 27 points unanswered in a 27-10 loss Saturday in Brookline, Mass.
“We had a whole host of negative things happen: five holding calls, dropped balls, interceptions,” head coach Bob Biggs said. “It just wasn’t very clean.“
The heavy rain had a clear effect on the passing game for both teams. Northeastern’s Anthony Orio completed only five of 16 passes with an interception. Greg Denham was 30-for-51 for 288 yards, but he threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles. All six of his turnovers occurred after the first quarter as the weather worsened.
“It wasn’t like Greg was forcing balls in there,” Biggs said. “He just couldn’t grip the ball. He’d say, ‘Coach, the ball completely slipped out of my hands. I just couldn’t control it.‘”
UC Davis (1-4) did control the game early on. It opened the contest with a seven-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 15-yard run by Brandon Tucker, who started in place of Joe Trombetta.
Trombetta, recovering from an ankle injury, had practiced all week and was expected to start but was a late scratch.
“It’s always nice to have Joe healthy, but we have complete trust in Brandon,” Biggs said. “He’s a very good runner.“
The Aggies tacked on a field goal early in the second quarter to build their advantage to 10-0, but then the tides turned.
The Northeastern offense took possession and moved the ball downfield with ease. Alex Broomfield had a 48-yard run and Orio had two completions for 19 yards, the last of which found tight end Conor Gilmartin-Donohue in the end zone from three yards out.
The Huskies (1-3) would score two more touchdowns in the quarter and another in the fourth – all off Aggie turnovers. The final score came on a 92-yard interception return by Nate Thellen, his third pick of the game.
Broomfield finished with 152 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter off a shotgun draw. Tucker led all players with 175 total yards (118 rushing).
The loss kept UC Davis winless on the road. The team now returns to Aggie Stadium for a five-game homestand, beginning Saturday at 6 p.m. against Northern Colorado.
“Obviously, we’re looking forward to it,” Biggs said. “We’ve been on the road four of the first five games, four different time zones. We’re anxious to get home and put this thing together.“
MICHAEL GEHLKEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.