The UC Davis season opener against Asuza Pacific marked the beginning of the end of an era in UC Davis football. Coach Bob Biggs announced that this year, his 20th year with the Aggies, would be his last as the head coach of the football team.
The Aggies were dominant from start to finish in defeating the Cougars by a score of 41-3. Senior running back Marquis Nicolis led the Aggies’ ground attack with 79 yards while sophomore fullback Dalton Turray capped off two drives with short runs for touchdowns.
“The first game you think you know you’re a team, but until you actually come out and play in a game and see yourself against other teams, you don’t really know what you have,” Biggs said. “I’ve been extremely pleased with the work ethic and the chemistry of this football team and the commitment to wanting to be good.”
“We were very efficient in our hurry up offense. It was very effective in the first half and caused Asuza to burn timeouts trying to keep up with our tempo,” Biggs added.
The offensive line, which returned four starters from last year, continually opened holes for the Aggie running backs.
“Holes were open all night so it was fun running behind [the offensive line] the whole night,” said Nicolis.
Junior quarterback Randy Wright, who emerged as the starter from a preseason position battle, was able to guide the offense going 13-19 with 166 yards and a touchdown before he was pulled out of the game as the Aggies started to build an insurmountable lead.
On the other side of the ball, the Aggie defense held their opponents to a total of 218 yards, although 144 of them came from Cougars running back Terrell Watson. The Aggies only recorded two sacks on paper, but constantly pressured the opposing quarterback the whole night.
The defense also helped the offense, holding the Cougars on their side of the field, giving the Aggies’ offense good field position on several drives.
“We swarmed and ran to the ball very well and I thought we tackled well, which is pleasing because they are a pretty prolific running team,” Biggs said.
While the offense and defense were dominant, the special teams’ performance might have been the best facet of the Aggies. Senior punter Colton Schmidt averaged 46.3 yards on his punts while sticking the Cougars inside the 20-yard line every time. New kicker Brady Stuart also shined as he knocked in field goals of 23 and 37 yards.
“I was very pleased with special teams. Obviously we have a great weapon in Colton Schmidt,” Biggs said.
This was the first game for the UC Davis Aggies in the Big Sky Conference after eight years in the Great West Conference. It was also the first game for Asuza Pacific after moving up to Division II from NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) classification.
UC Davis didn’t have to wait to score their first points of the season as the Aggies took the opening drive 74 yards with Turray punching in the touchdown from two yards out.
Yesterday, the Aggies headed south on a bus to face regional rival San Jose State.
“We’re going to go back and look at [the film] and there will be some wrinkles to smooth out,” Biggs said. “We’re obviously going to have to be better against San Jose State.”
Unfortunately, the Aggies fell 45-13 to a strong Spartans team that was ousted by Stanford in a tight game last week.
UC Davis entered the game knowing they would have an uphill battle and kept it tight until SJSU pulled away.
The Aggies travel to South Dakota State for their next matchup on Sept. 15, then return to California to play rival Cal Poly on Sept. 22.