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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Football Preview: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Records: Aggies, 3-6 (3-2); Mustangs, 3-5 (2-2)

Where: Aggie Stadium — Davis, Calif.

When: Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

Who to watch?

UC Davis’ away game winning streak came to a halt on Oct. 26, when the fifth-ranked Montana State Bobcats (MSU) defeated the Aggies 34-17. Hopefully, UC Davis will have better luck on their home turf as they prepare to take on the Cal Poly Mustangs for the UC Davis Parents’ Weekend on Nov. 2.

One Aggie who gave an impressive performance against the Bobcats is junior running back Gabe Manzanares. Manzanares finished the game with 179 yards rushing including two touchdowns against MSU.

With three games remaining in the season, the San Francisco, Calif. native has already accumulated 890 yards rushing ─ the most since Matt Masari went for 1,274 yards in 2003. Manzanares, who walked on to the UC Davis football team this year, has been a major contributor to the Aggies’ offensive success all season long.

Preview:

After their second back-to-back road game victory against the University of Northern Colorado, UC Davis traveled to Bozeman, Mont. on Oct. 26 to take on the ranked Montana State Bobcats in the hopes of continuing their away game success. Unfortunately, the Aggies came up short in a 34-17 loss at Bobcat Stadium in front of an intimidating crowd of 18,627.

The Bobcats pounced on the Aggies early in the game, leading 14-0 in the second period following a 10-play, 68-yard drive.

Despite the overwhelmingly large and boisterous crowd, senior quarterback Randy Wright communicated well with the offensive line and set the offense up to score. Wright moved the Aggies 69 yards to set up sophomore Brady Stuart’s 29-yard field goal and get UC Davis on the scoreboard, 14-3.

Junior Gabe Manzanares led the Aggie running game with 113 yards in the first half alone, while demonstrating impressive speed, strength and agility that gave the Bobcat defense difficulty all game.

Despite the strong Aggie defensive front, which forced Bobcat quarterback Darius McGhee to throw short second or third-read passes, MSU inflated their lead with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.

Down 34-10, UC Davis quickly advanced 75 yards in 13 plays and scored from a two-yard toss from Wright to senior receiver Tom Hemmingson, who became the first Aggie to catch 10 passes in a single game since he achieved this same feat in 2011.

But it wasn’t enough to take home the win.

The Aggies’ defense will have their work cut out for them with Mustang running back Kristaan Ivory, who is averaging 101 rushing yards per game with six rushing touchdowns this season. Cal Poly has a 5.2 yards per carry rushing average.

The Mustang defense has held their opponents to a 3.8 yard per carry rushing average this year. However, they have yet to face a top-tier running back like Manzanares.

The Aggies need to bounce back and play consistent football if they wish to emerge victorious this Parents’ Weekend against the Cal Poly Mustangs, who lost 17-13 to Northern Arizona on Oct. 26.

— Jordanna Baddeley

 

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