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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Football Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. No. 22 North Dakota
Records: Aggies, 3-6 (1-2); Fighting Sioux, 6-3 (1-1)
Where: Aggie Stadium
When: Saturday at 2 p.m.
Who to watch: Last week against Cal Poly quarterback Randy Wright was accurate and efficient, leading a balance Aggie attack that scored to three first-half touchdowns.

After going 5-5 on the first drive of the day, Wright finished the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe 14-20 for 203 yards and one touchdown.

Against a North Dakota defense that is excellent against the run, Wright is again prepared to lead the offensive charge.

“We’re going try to run the ball,” he explained. “But if not, I’m sure me and company (looks around at his receivers) would love to throw it a little bit.

“We’ll be dialed in to hurt them in the air.”

Did you know? North Dakota is still in the hunt to win a share of the Great West Conference title. Had Cal Poly won last week, it would have clinched the outright title. However, the Aggie victory opened the title race to teams with one conference loss, meaning that the Fighting Sioux come to Aggie Stadium with a lot to play for.
Preview: It was a fast four years.

That’s what you’ll hear if you ask one of the Aggie seniors about his career as a UC Davis football player. They all feel the same way.

This Saturday UC Davis will recognize 14 seniors who are set to play their final game at Aggie Stadium.

The 2011 class will leave a permanent mark on the football program, having been a part of four of the first five seasons UC Davis has been in Division I competition.

This departing class played a key part in bringing the football program to its highest level in university history, with respect to national prominence and top competition.

In their first three years from 2008-10 this group was 8-3 in league play, winning the Great West title in 2009.

“It would mean so much to end with a win,” said senior defensive end Tommy Grillo. “It’s nice [playing at home]. With the Aggie pack and all the fans and your family out there, it just gives you the extra oomph to get going.”

Added Head Coach Bob Biggs, “[The seniors] want to cherish every moment because they realize that, for most of them, it will be the last time they play.”

Their careers aren’t over yet, though.

This Saturday’s contest against North Dakota is the final Great West match-up of the year. With a win, the Aggies can climb to 2-2 in conference play, after starting 0-2.

The Fighting Sioux are not going to make it easy.

North Dakota comes into the game nationally ranked (FCS) for the 10th consecutive week and on a two-game road-winning streak.

The Fighting Sioux’s defense is what sets them apart, as they are ranked 21st in the Football Championship in total defense. They are 4th in the FCS in rush defense.

Senior running back Josh Reese is confident that the Aggies will still be able to run the football effectively.

“We have to build momentum off last week,” he said. “If we can keep that mindset, keep running hard downhill and get into it [we’ll be okay].”

Defensively, the Aggies must keep an eye on North Dakota quarterback Brent Goska. At 6’3” 220 pounds, Goska is a powerful quarterback capable of contributing both on the ground and through the air.

As with all Great West conference games, the outcome of this game will likely come down to energy level and execution. Should the Aggies play another solid up-tempo game of football, they are more than capable of coming away with a win for their seniors.

— Caelum Shove


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