66.7 F

Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hail Bakari



Bakari Grant was a mess.

He strained a muscle in his foot. He kicked his shoe off. He put it back on. He ran out onto the field. He forgot his helmet. He went back for it. He lined up outside instead of in the slot.

He cleaned up nicely.

Down two with time enough for one play remaining, Grant made the most improbable of impossible catches in the end zone to clinch a 34-30 UC Davis win over University of Northern Colorado on Saturday.

He made the 38-yard catch without so much as a bobble. Surrounded by four defenders. With his facemask being torn off. And his eyes closed (well, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were).

“You guys will never see that again, said head coach Bob Biggs. “That was unbelievable. That was really, really special. Did you see that replay?”

Yeah, I saw it. About 6 billion times, like the rest of the 9,675 fans that saw it on repeat on the Aggie Stadium scoreboard.

And I still don’t believe it.

“I’m just going to sit here and listen to him,” Biggs joked. “I have nothing to say, really.”

Grant had plenty to say.

“It was almost like I was outside my body,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. I felt the ball in my hands, went down.… It almost brought tears to my eyes, having my team around me like that to win it.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s one of those things that you see in a movie. It’s overwhelming,” he continued.

Unbelievable and overwhelming. Ridiculous and borderline illegal in most states.

Whatever you want to call it, UC Davis needed it.

The Aggies entered Saturday’s contest in a sinking ship carrying a boatload of talent, having lost four of their first five games.

Three of those losses came by a combined 11 points. One against Football Bowl Subdivision San Jose State, the other two at No. 3 University of Montana and No. 19 University of Central Arkansas.

The final period hadn’t been too kind to the Aggies, who held a fourth-quarter lead in each of those losses.

Enter Saturday.

UC Davis took a 28-27 lead with 11:19 to play before a Northern Colorado field goal with a shade over a minute remaining appeared to spell heartbreak for the Aggies once again.

This time, however, was different, as UC Davis drove 66 yards on eight plays in the game’s final 1:18 to come out on the other end of disaster.


“It must have been our time,” Biggs said. “Did we need that win? We needed that win. That was unbelievable.” That win was a season-changer. No longer are the Aggies a team with a world of both talent and disappointment. Now, they’re a team that has learned how to finish – something that Biggs has been rather adamant about stressing to say the least.

“Coach Biggs has just been drilling it home to us countless times,” Denham said. “In the past, we haven’t stuck it out to get the win. We’re right there almost every time.… We all looked at each other, knew what we had to do. We got so blessed here.”

He paused.

“And we finished.”

“Sometimes you have to have something special to have people start believing,” Biggs said. “We needed that. As a football team, we needed that. To be able to finish the way we finished after all we talked about … says a lot.”

Consider it a lesson learned – even if finishing required a little help from above.

“I just threw it up and said a prayer,” Denham said.

“All I can say is it was sent from heaven,” Grant said. “It was one of those things where you knew it was meant to be.”

Good thing he found his helmet.


ADAM LOBERSTEIN thinks if you didn’t go to Saturday’s game, you’re an idiot. If you left early, you’re even dumber. He can be reached at sports@californiaaggie.com.


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