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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Football Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Northern Arizona
Records: Aggies, 3-4 (2-2); Lumberjacks, 3-0 (5-1)
Where: Walkup Skydome — Flagstaff, Arizona
When: Saturday at 4:05 p.m.
Who to Watch: Junior quarterback Randy Wright is coming off a huge performance against fellow Big Sky opponent Idaho State and will look to continue his success this week.

Last week the Aggie quarterback threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns while spreading the ball to 10 different receivers. His huge game led to him being named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week.

This made Wright the first player in Aggie history to receive hardware from the Big Sky.

Did you know? This will be the second week in a row that the Aggies will travel on the road to play their opponents in an indoor stadium. There are currently only nine Division I teams who play their home games indoors.

This includes the Idaho State Bengals and the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, both of which are in the Big Sky Conference.

Preview: This week the UC Davis football team will head to the road again to play the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, who are on a five-game winning streak. The Lumberjacks are currently ranked second in the Big Sky behind Montana State as well as No. 15 in the FCS poll.

The Aggies are coming off a strong offensive output last week against Idaho State, amassing 52 points and over 600 total yards on offense, and seek to continue their success into this week.

“We’ve been playing well these past few weeks on offense. We scored 36 against Weber State, 40 against Montana State and 52 last week so we’re gelling and hopefully can keep the momentum going into this week,” Wright said.

Wright and the offense will face a much harder task against the Northern Arizona defense that is ranked second in the Big Sky in yards allowed and pass defense efficiency.

“Their defense looks very good on film. Our coaches do very well in giving us good game plans,” Wright said. “They run a lot of single safety stuff that plays into our offense so I’m sure you will see it on Saturday.”

The Aggie ground game will also seek to continue their success on the ground after running for over 300 yards last week. UC Davis had two running backs run for over 100 yards apiece — sophomore Colton Silveria and senior Marquis Nicolis — with redshirt freshman Courtney Williams tacking on another 84.

UC Davis will have to switch gears to face a strong running attack in Northern Arizona after playing a pass heavy Idaho State.

The Northern Arizona ground game starts and ends with junior running back Zach Bauman who currently leads the Big Sky in rushing yards. Bauman is currently averaging 173.7 rushing yards per game, with the closest competitor averaging 115.2.

“We have to focus on tackling this running back. He is very elusive and probably one of the best running backs we’ve seen so far,” said senior linebacker Jordan Glass.

The Aggie defense is coming off a week where they allowed 45 points and allowed the opposing quarterback to throw for over 300 yards with five touchdowns.

“[Idaho State] put up way too many points on us, so as a defense, we are a little irritated this week, and it gave us extra focus to prepare for Northern Arizona because we know they have a great offense,” Glass said.

Northern Arizona is one of the three teams that boast an undefeated record at home this year in the Big Sky. The Lumberjacks play in an indoor stadium which will make this the second week in a row the Aggies will travel to play in a dome.

“It throws your depth perception off a bit, the lighting is different for the receivers and it gets really loud when the crowd gets into it, so we have to do silent cadences. Mentally, everyone has to be dialed in at domes, but it’s still football,” Wright said.

— Jason Min


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