Teams: UC Davis at Fresno State
Records: Aggies, 0-0; Bulldogs, 0-0
Where: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to Watch: How quarterback Greg Denham handles the pressure against the Bulldogs will determine whether the Aggies sink or swim Saturday night, especially if the Aggie rushing attack struggles early on as it did last season.
The Auburn, Calif. native looked solid in the Aggies‘ Blue vs. Gold scrimmage, completing 24 of 31 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Did you know? The last time UC Davis faced off against the Fresno State in a football game was in 1956. Prior to that, the teams met virtually every year in the 1920s and 30s. The Bulldogs currently hold an 11-5-1 all-time record against the Aggies.
Preview: UC Davis begins its season with a tough test in Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium, a venue which seats nearly 30,000 fans and that will be a rough environment for the Aggies to adjust to.
Coach Bob Biggs will be trying to keep his team focused on not letting the game get away from them.
“The thing I’ve tried to impress on our team is that Fresno [State] is so much faster than we’re used to,” said Biggs. “How we adjust to the speed early in the game will be the key. If we adjust well, hold them in check and not give up any big plays early, we’ll be in [the game].“
Offensively, it will be up be up to Denham and the Aggies‘ four-headed rushing attack of Joe Trombetta, Josh Reese, Corbin Cutshaw and Brandon Tucker.
UC Davis will want to make use of this package of backs as Fresno State ranked only seventh in total defense in the Western Athletic Conference last season.
Defensively, the Aggies will get the first real test of their new 4-3 zone blitz scheme designed by defensive coordinator Mark Johnson who was brought in after last season. The new scheme makes better use of the Aggies‘ personnel and should increase the amount of pressure that the team can bring against the opposing quarterback.
While the new defense will be imperative to an Aggie win, the most important aspect of the game will be to not fall behind early.
“If they get some big plays off the bat, then you know we’re going to be playing catch up,” Biggs said. “That’s hard to do with a team that’s that fast.”
– Richard Procter