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Friday, October 22, 2021

Football: Aggies, Mother Nature rain on Hornets’ parade

If you said that UC Davis football would go 6-5, beating San Jose State, Cal Poly and Sacramento State, you would have been considered crazy, said quarterback Randy Wright.

The Aggies did all of the above, though, finishing the 2010 campaign with a triumphant 17-16 win over rival Sac State in a rainy, windy and cold 57th Causeway Classic.

If you ask any UC Davis underclassmen, it’s all thanks to one thing – the Aggies’ senior leadership.

“[The seniors’] motivation was all there,” Wright said. “We were three and five at one point, and they didn’t lose the intensity.”

For Biggs, the senior squad is something to remember.

“Our seniors have been tremendous mentors,” Biggs said. “Our seniors wouldn’t allow us as a young football team to do anything but come in and work hard every single day. That’s what I’m going to remember about this team.”

Biggs said Saturday night’s victory was a culmination of his team’s great effort and resilience all year. It reflects a lot about the team as UC Davis picked up two consecutive come-from-behind rivalry wins to close out the season.

UC Davis found itself in an early hole, getting down 13-0 on Sacramento State’s first two possessions.

However, two touchdown passes from Wright to receiver Anthony Soto would be enough to take the short 14-13 lead.

Unfortunately for the Aggies, the Hornets kicked a field goal from 30 yards out as the opening half expired, taking the 16-14 advantage into the break.

Adverse weather and lightning forced a delay of nearly an hour at the intermission. Even after the strange holdup, the rain persisted into the second half.

UC Davis safety Danny Hart had never seen anything like it.

“It was a monsoon out there,” Hart said.

For Hart and senior tight end Dean Rogers, it was even more motivation to get the win.

“It just added to the excitement,” Rogers said. “Mother Nature was toying with us, but it brought our focus back. All we had was each other, the [Aggie Band-Uh!], who was there through thick and thin, and a few undying fans. The rain was a factor, but we just had to fight to the end.”

The second half became a fight for field position, with UC Davis coming out on top.

Unable to move the ball efficiently on offense, the Aggies were forced to punt twice by the middle of the fourth quarter.

The Hornets muffed the second punt, and Aggie Stephen Dunstan was right where he needed to be, recovering the ball on the Hornets’ 10-yard line.

“That was a huge turnover,” Hart said. “If you win the field position, you win the game.”

UC Davis moved the ball to the Sac State four, and kicker Sean Kelley stepped onto the field to cap the drive.

With the rain still pouring, a 21-yard field goal was no guarantee, but Wright recovered a low snap from Joey Waters, and Kelley booted a line drive through the uprights to secure the 17-16 victory.

Despite a slippery ball, Wright threw for 133 yards, finding senior team captains Rogers and Sean Creadick twice each for a total of 95.

Additionally, senior defensive captains Hart and Dozie Amajoyi made seven and nine tackles, respectively.

Biggs and UC Davis football are pleased to have finished the season with a winning record, sending their veterans off with such a thrilling win. With the victory, UC Davis guaranteed its 39th winning season in the past 40 years.

“It’s a rivalry,” Biggs said. “Anytime you win a rivalry, you get the bragging rights for one year. We’ll enjoy it for one year, and we’ll start all over again next year.”

GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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