Aggies have yet to find a win
It was another tough day for the UC Davis Aggies as they faced a 27-13 loss against the University of Montana Grizzlies, further extending their losing streak to a whopping five games. Mistakes were abundant on both the offensive and defensive ends of the game for the Aggies, and struggles with turnovers and the inability to make tackles were the main culprits.
It was a warm and windy day as UC Davis faced conference rivals Montana for the first time this season. Desperately hoping to put a mark in the win column and score their first ever victory against the Grizzlies, the pressure was on.
Montana won the coin toss and chose to receive in the start of the game. Suffering a plethora of injuries from various players throughout the season, the defensive unit was determined to not let these setbacks faze them; the Aggie defense appeared to have things locked down early in the game.
The opening drive for the Grizzlies was stopped by UC Davis on 4th and 1, which led to a hard fought Aggie field goal. Striking first on the scoreboard after a confident defensive start was a morale boost for UC Davis. After a few back and forth drives where both teams found no ground in both the passing and running game, the team found points again in the form of another field goal. Although senior kicker Brady Stuart was doing an excellent job of executing their field goal attempts, it was clear that the Aggie offense could not find a way into the end zone as they took the first quarter with a 6-0 lead.
After a strong first quarter, the Aggie defense lost some momentum in the second following a strong drive and some clutch fourth down plays by the Grizzlies that led to a Montana touchdown. Throughout the game, the defense could not find a way to stop several strong fourth-down attempts by the Grizzlies, which heavily impacted the final score. Despite the opposing touchdown, the Aggie offense came out strong and finally found a way into the end zone to regain the lead at 13-7. The promising performance by the Aggies was short-lived, and the team would not find the end zone for the rest of the game.
Montana scored another touchdown, putting the Aggies down 14-13 as their defense desperately tried to give their offense an opportunity to score. Eventually, they forced a clutch fourth-down punt with UC Davis set to receive. Junior wide receiver Chris Martin, who has had a breakout season this year for the Aggies, was in position to return the punt but misjudged the landing location and found himself backtracking to get his hands on the ball. Making a critical mistake, Martin attempted to catch a ball he should have let drop and consequently fumbled it. Montana recovered the ball at the UC Davis four yard line. Despite the setback, the defense came out again and caused and recovered a Montana fumble. Enthusiasm was high once again as the crowd praised the defensive efforts. The teams went into halftime with Montana leading 14-13.
The Aggies came out of the gates the third quarter with what seemed to be renewed determination. However, poor decisions by junior quarterback Ben Scott led to two interceptions, one of which resulted in a touchdown for the Grizzlies, ending the quarter 21-13.
“We had a really good game plan and 13 points was not accredited to the game plan we had,” Scott said. “The coaches put us in a good position, and I just did not execute… I was running around with my head cut off.”
It was do or die time for UC Davis as they trailed going into the fourth. An eight-point deficit was something the Aggies were determined to overcome, but determination was not enough. A tough quarter resulted in another Grizzly touchdown and the game concluded with an Aggie loss, 27-13.
A lot of construction is needed to turn the Aggies into a winning machine. Injuries have ravaged the team, but this is not an excuse for poor execution on both the offensive and defensive sides.
“We don’t get caught up in the injuries and surgeries,” Head Coach Ron Gould said. “I’m just proud of how the kids fight and their resiliency. We play four quarters regardless of what the score is.”
Gould was disappointed in the loss and took responsibility for the performance.
“I told the team the loss is on me,” Gould said. “We have to make sure we put the guys in better situations. We’re not doing a very good job on executing on the goal line, and that’s on me, I take full responsibility. I have to put the players in a better position where they can be successful.”
It is clear that UC Davis is struggling, but it is by no means the end of the road. The team has different positive aspects of their play and they just need to figure out how to come together and start getting some wins. The Aggies have six more conference games left in the season, and they just need to take it one game at a time. They will face Northern Arizona for the highly anticipated homecoming game on Oct. 10.