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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Football Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Southern Utah

Records: Aggies, 3-4 (1-0); Thunderbirds, 4-4 (3-0)

Where: Aggie Stadium

When: Saturday at 4 p.m.

Who to watch: He’s back.

Junior cornerback Jonathan Calhoun returned to action last week after a leg injury sidelined him for most of the season.

As soon as warm-ups came around last Saturday night, the Long Beach, Calif. native was ready to roll.

“I was shocked,” said coach Bob Biggs. “I don’t think he’s 100 percent by any means, but Saturday night when the lights went on and adrenaline was flowing, he was back to seemingly 100 percent.”

Did you know? The Aggies have scored in 111 straight home games, which includes its tenure at Toomey Field.

Preview: Biggs says some contests are more important than others.

This is one of those games.

“We’re treating this like a championship game,” Biggs said. “If Southern Utah beats us, we have no chance to win the [Great West Conference title.] If we win, we control our own destiny.”

The Southern Utah squad will step on the field Saturday undefeated in Great West play, beating North Dakota, South Dakota and Cal Poly.

That means the Thunderbirds can potentially clinch the conference championship with a win over the Aggies.

UC Davis is determined as ever.

“Everyone’s pretty excited to play Southern Utah,” said quarterback Randy Wright. “They’re leading conference right now, so we have to get up for this game. We have to match their intensity.”

The Thunderbirds’ fast-paced offense ranks 11th in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Additionally, two of their wide receivers, Tysson Poots and Fesi Sitake, have 831 and 605 receiving yards, respectively.

One focus for the UC Davis defense will be to pressure the receivers on the line.

“[Southern Utah] has complete confidence it can get the ball to those guys and they’re going to make plays,” Biggs said. “We have to be able to effectively shut the run down and take at least one of those two receivers out of the game.”

Meanwhile, the Aggies will continue to utilize the newly implemented “dolphin” offense that helped them to 109 rushing yards last week.

“It helps us because it’s been well documented that we haven’t run the ball as effectively as we would like,” Biggs said. “Any time you have an effective package, not just a play or two, [the opponent] has to spend a lot of time trying to defend it.”

– Grace Sprague


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