In the first-ever Big Sky Conference game played at Aggie Stadium, the UC Davis football team captured their first victory with a 37-13 win over the Weber State Wildcats. Sophomore running back Dalton Turay led the offensive attack with three rushing touchdowns, the first Aggie to do so since 2006.
UC Davis improves to 2-3 with a 1-1 conference record, while Weber State falls to 0-5 and 0-2 in conference.
“It was a team effort completely. I couldn’t have done it without the other 10 guys on the field,” Turay said.
Head coach Bob Biggs had good things to say about his second-year running back, not just about how he plays but also how he carries himself on and off the field.
“He’s deceptively quick, he’s strong enough to break a lot of hand tackles and he’s just very determined,” Biggs said. “When it’s all said and done, he is the heart and soul of the team. I think his personality and the way he plays dictates what type of team we are.”
The Aggies’ offense wasted no time putting points on the board as the team showed off their no-huddle offense, marching 62 yards on a drive that took less than two minutes to open the game.
The drive was capped off by an 18-yard touchdown from junior quarterback Randy Wright to redshirt freshman wide receiver Tim Benton, who hauled in the pass with a jumping one-handed catch.
“We had one-on-one coverage there so I just gave Ben a chance to catch it and he came up with a great play and a touchdown,” Wright said.
“I thought Tim Benton’s one-handed touchdown catch ignited the team and we were off and running from there,” Biggs said.
The Aggies’ defense also flexed their muscles as they forced four turnovers and also had four sacks throughout the game. Senior linebacker Byron Gruendl had two picks and junior cornerback Dre Allen led the Aggies with eight tackles.
“As a defense we came in just ready to play and we wanted to have our breakthrough game,” said junior defensive end Nick King.
“The defense bent, but didn’t break. They showed great resilience and it was a great effort on their part,” Biggs said.
King led the team with 1.5 sacks in a dominating effort by the defense line that was constantly forcing the opponent’s quarterback to scramble from the pocket.
“We came together in spring ball and we knew we had something special. We got a lot of young guys and we took that in. We’re just one unit, there’s not one guy and we just have fun out there,” he said.
Special teams also made a huge contribution as redshirt freshman kicker Brady Stuart booted in three field goals (44, 32 and 40 yards respectively). Sophomore linebacker Ryan Dimino also had a punt block that led to one of Turay’s touchdowns.
The game was the first home game for the Aggies this year with all the students back from summer, cheering on their team.
“We fed off the emotion and the energy from the crowd,” Biggs said. “We came down the tunnel and saw the stands full with all the students and that ignited the team and got everyone really excited. Yes, it’s a game, you’re playing for yourselves and your team, but you’re also playing for the student body and when you see that kind of support, it makes you want to play well. I thought they came out and entertained very well tonight.”
Wright felt this performance was particularly satisfying.
“Filled house tonight and it was just nice to get this win under our belt in front of our fans in our home opener in the Big Sky,” Wright said.
Next week, the Aggies face Big Sky powerhouse Montana State for the Homecoming game at 4 p.m. at Aggie Stadium.
JASON MIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.