Teams: UC Davis vs. Humboldt State
Records: Aggies 1-3; Lumberjacks 4-0
Where: Aggie Stadium
When: Saturday at 6 p.m.
Who to watch: If the UC Davis run-game is going to improve in the final seven games of the year, it will be behind the leadership and experience of senior captain Josh Reese.
The running back has been a presence on the field since his arrival at the university in 2007. Reese saw action in at least 9 games in each of his first three seasons with the Aggies, and has started in all four contests so far this year. In the 2011 campaign, the Davis native has rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown, averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
For Reese, this Saturday’s game against Humboldt State represents nothing more than another opportunity for a win.
“We have to come in and defend our home and get the W this weekend,” he said. “It’s pretty basic, you block your guy and you hit the right hole.
“We just have to execute.”
Did you know? Humboldt State was a conference rival of UC Davis when the Aggies played in the Division II Northern California Athletic Conference. The two teams have gone head-to-head 59 times since the series began in 1935, but have not played each other since UC Davis made the switch to Division I in 2007.
Preview: For the Aggies, the opening month of the season is over and they’re not looking back.
“We’re going into these last seven games and it’s a whole new season,” said head coach Bob Biggs. “What we do from here on out will dictate more about us as a football team and what we might be able to accomplish.”
A bye week last week gave the team a chance to rest, heal some injuries, and refocus their energy.
Now, they’re ready to go.
“The first four games were not how Aggie Pride is supposed to be played,” said junior captain Bobby Erskine. “Our season starts now.”
Asked if the team needed to shift their mental focus, Erskine disagreed.
“We’ve had the same attitude. We’re always going to be a big effort team. Guys with a blue-collar attitude, we’re going to clock in and put our work in.
“It’s a refocusing and a resetting,” he said.
On the field, Division II Humboldt State provides UC Davis with an opportunity to earn its second win of the year – the first of this “new season.”
It won’t be as easy as just showing up, though.
The Lumberjacks are off to their best start in more than 40 years, and have yet to lose this season.
“They’re a good football team,” Biggs said. “[Head Coach] Rod Smith has taken over the program and he’s got them to new heights.”
Despite the Lumberjacks’ impressive start to the season, this is a game the Aggies will expect to win. Already this year UC Davis has played at Arizona State and Hawaii, two Football Bowl Subdivision teams that provided competition leagues above what the Division II Lumberjacks will bring to Aggie Stadium on Saturday.
Things also bode well for the Aggies historically. Since Biggs joined the UC Davis football staff back in 1978, the Aggies are 18-2 against the Lumberjacks, with one tie.
Don’t bother telling the coach that, though.
“None of that history means anything,” he said. “The attitude that I have and that the team has is that it doesn’t matter [who we face]. We’re going to go out and play as well as we can play.
“We control our own destiny.”
– Caelum Shove