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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, July 22, 2024

Football Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. University of Montana

Records: Aggies, 2-4 (2-0); Grizzlies, 4-1 (1-1)

Where: Aggie Stadium — Davis, Calif.

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.

Who to watch?

The Aggies finally have the ball rolling after pocketing their second win of the season Oct. 5 against Southern Utah University (SUU), 21-3. UC Davis, still undefeated in Big Sky Conference play, are hungry for another victory and will get the chance to feast when they take on the University of Montana Grizzlies at home this Saturday for UC Davis’ homecoming.

An Aggie to look for in the Homecoming game is junior linebacker Steven Pitts. Although Pitts has been a reliable force on defense all season, he stood out among the rest with his exceptional play all game against SUU. The 6’1” El Cajon, Calif. native finished the game with seven tackles, a sack against Thunderbird quarterback Aaron Cantu and even knocked down a pass. The talented linebacker was nominated for Big Sky Player of the Week for his performance against SUU.

Did you know:

The last time UC Davis matched up against the Montana Grizzlies was at Aggie Stadium four years ago on Sept. 12, 2009. Unfortunately, the Aggies lost to the Grizzlies, 10-17.

This time around, however, the Aggies are coming off of a two-game winning streak and don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. The Aggies will have the opportunity to prevent history from repeating itself this Saturday.

Preview:

The Aggies return to Davis, Calif. for their Homecoming game this weekend after leaving Cedar City, Utah with their second straight win of the season against SUU. UC Davis remains undefeated in the Big Sky Conference as they prepare to take on the Montana Grizzlies on the Aggies’ home turf.

After winning their first game of the season as well as their first win in Big Sky Conference play, UC Davis utilized the momentum and took it on the road in order to defeat the Thunderbirds 21-3 on Oct. 5.

The Aggies prevented Utah’s high altitude from serving as an advantage for the Thunderbirds because UC Davis did not even consider it an aspect of the game.

“We didn’t even talk about the altitude — that wasn’t a factor,” said coach Gould. “We talked about preparation all week, and working hard day-in and day-out.”

One aspect of the game that did in fact greatly influence the Aggies play and success was the coverage unit and freshman punter Colby Wadman. The rookie demonstrated impressive skill having kept SUU within their four yard line three out of his seven punts, making their average starting point their 13-yard line.

The Aggies played their best game in terms of offense and defense according to coach Gould. The Aggies’ running game was led by junior running back Gabe Manzanares. Manzanares, having run for a career-high 208 yards against Idaho State two weeks ago, excelled against a Thunderbirds defense that had been only been giving up 98 rushing yards per game. Manzanares rushed for 175 yards on 33 carries, including two second-quarter touchdown runs.

The Aggies’ defense remains the backbone of the team’s success, as senior cornerback Jonathan Perkins set the tone for the game with a field-goal block on SUU’s first possession.

“That was a definite momentum changer for us,” coach Gould said.

The Aggies’ tallied a season-high four sacks, with contributions from seniors Nick King, Colin Kelly and sophomore Kyle DeVaughn. Aggie defensive backs senior Dre Allen and sophomore Shamawn Wright both picked off passes from SUU.

As the 4-1 Grizzlies head to Davis, the Aggies must not get too caught up in their recent victories. Montana is coming off the weekend with a 55-27 victory over Portland State. Montana’s quarterback Jordan Johnson had a four-touchdown game supported by Travon Van and Jordan Canada, each of whom ran for more than 100 yards to contribute to the Grizzlies’ 378 total rushing yards.

The Aggies’ offense will have to plot against the National and Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week, Anthony Goodwin. The senior cornerback had two interceptions and seven pass deflections in the Grizzlies’ Homecoming win against Portland.

Let’s hope UC Davis football continues to improve and impress Gould and Aggies fans with a Homecoming game victory this Saturday.

— Jordanna Baddeley

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