Teams: UC Davis at South Dakota
Records: Aggies 1-3 (0-0); Coyotes 3-2 (0-1)
Where: DakotaDome – Vermillion, S.D.
When: Saturday at noon
Who to Watch: When the Aggies are on defense, middle linebacker Mike Morales is a consistent force.
The Los Altos, Calif. native leads the team with 28 tackles and was a primary playmaker during last week’s game at Boise State.
Morales may be asked to shadow opposing quarterback Noah Shepherd who has been making plays on the ground as well as through the air this season as he leads the Coyotes with eight rushing touchdowns.
If the Aggies opt to use Morales as a spy on Shepherd, his ability to make clutch tackles could be the difference in the game.
Did you know? The Aggies have never played against South Dakota in the regular season before. Their only game against the Coyotes was a 26-23 loss in the first round of the 1986 NCAA playoffs.
Preview: How will the Aggies be rewarded for their strong effort against nationally ranked Boise State?
By traveling to take on the Coyotes of South Dakota, a team that is a perfect 3-0 at home in the DakotaDome this season.
“[The field] is a carpet, which we don’t play on too much anymore,” Biggs said. “It’s a fast surface. You’ve got to get the right shoes.“
While UC Davis plays on a synthetic turf field, South Dakota‘s artificial turf serves as somewhat of a problem for the Aggies.
“In past years we’d try to get the turf shoes, but I’m not sure those are the best,” Biggs said. “Although you get great traction, the nubs [on the bottom] of your shoes will grip the surface such that you’ll get injuries.”
In addition to adjusting to the dome, the Aggies will have to contend with a high-powered South Dakota offense, currently ranked at the top of the Great West Conference in total offense (430.8 yards per game) and scoring (33.2 points per game).
UC Davis will be hoping for another big game from free safety Danny Hart and cornerback Kenneth Brown. In last week’s game, Hart recorded a team-high 14 tackles and Brown had an interception in his second consecutive game.
On offense, the Aggies will be working mostly through the air unless they can establish a consistent rushing attack, something that has eluded them so far this season. The Aggies have the 21st ranked passing offense among all FCS teams while ranking 115th in rushing yards per game.
– Richard Procter