The football team finished their 2011 campaign with a win, beating Sacramento State 23-19 in the 58th Causeway Classic.
The Aggies first road win of the season brought their final record to 4-7, ensuring that they avoided their first eight-loss season in more than fifty years.
Saturday’s contest showcased the same football the UC Davis has been playing all year, albeit with one large exception. There was solid defense, a balanced rushing and passing attack and consistent special teams.
The large exception came from freshman running back Colton Silveria, who ran rampant against the Hornets.
The team’s leading rusher finished the contest with 170 yards and a touchdown.
It was the first 100-yard rushing performance by a single player for UC Davis this season and the most single-game rush yards for an Aggie since the 2000 season.
For head coach Bob Biggs the result wasn’t extraordinary, but rather a product of the team’s hard work throughout the season.
“We played with the same intensity [as always],” Biggs said. “There’s no magic formula. We just played with great effort and executed.”
As always, the defensive execution was strong for the Aggies.
UC Davis gave up less than 20 points for the third consecutive week and held Sacramento State to 3 of 16 on third down conversions.
“[We] didn’t give Sacramento consistency with their offense,” Biggs said. “We forced them to do things that they [didn’t want] to do.”
Junior Byron Gruendl led the way with nine tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
Offensively, the Aggies were able to break free for some big plays, something that hadn’t happened very often this season.
A 66-yard run from Silveria set up the final UC Davis field goal, which gave the Aggies a decisive 23-13 lead with just over two minutes remaining.
“We ran the ball well,” Biggs said. “[We] got some big plays in the run game and hit a big pass play. That’s going to happen in games like this.”
Senior kicker Sean Kelley made all three of his field goal attempts in the game.
Quarterback Randy Wright finished 14-23 for 171 yards with one interception.
When the clock reached zero, the Aggies were finally able to celebrate, having sent 14 seniors out with a win against the rival Hornets.
“It was great to get wins against Cal Poly and Sacramento State for our seniors,” sophomore receiver Tom Hemmingsen said. “This is a great group of guys who represent what Aggie pride is all about.”
Biggs, a former UC Davis and Canadian Football League quarterback, showed his quickness when he avoided the ice-cold Gatorade shower as he made his way to the post-game handshake.
Now, after months of hard work, the Aggies season has come to an abrupt end.
With the long off-season now upon them, Biggs explained the importance of ending the season with a win.
“[This game] helps a lot,” he said. “We’re a young football team and we have a lot of players returning. Their effort has been second to none. To end in a game like this and go into the off-season with a team that feels good about themselves, it means a lot.”
CAELUM SHOVE can be reached at email@example.com.