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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Homecoming: mission accomplished


The Aggies reach 500 all-time games won in big homecoming victory

A team plagued by harsh injuries, tough calls and closer games finally posted their first win in a historic homecoming game this past Saturday.

“We always have a saying, we call it Charlie Mike; [it means] Continue Mission,” senior defensive tackle Kyle DeVaughn said of his team’s fighting spirit. “Something might happen, but we’re like, ‘Oh well’ and we keep going.”

In their first homecoming win since 2011, the UC Davis football team fought hard and was able to pull ahead of Northern Arizona University to win 38-24.

NAU won the coin toss to start the game, and chose to receive. The Lumberjacks sought to come out of the gates strong, but a stifling Aggie defense held the offensive line to an overall gain of only 15 yards.

The Aggies took up their first possession and began their work. After a series of plays and two first downs, they reached their first fourth down. Senior kicker Brady Stuart took to the field for a 46-yard field goal attempt that went wide right, missing the target and marring his stellar record for the season.

The Lumberjack’s next offensive saw real results. After a handful of yards gained, NAU quarterback Case Cookus threw a 31-yard pass that put his team deep into Aggie territory on the four-yard line.

Three downs after this gain, the Lumberjacks finally put the ball into the end zone. Upon review, officials reversed the touchdown and NAU drove again from the one-yard line. They were able to score on the subsequent play, becoming the first team to put points on the board.

They did not keep this lead for long. Similar to their first possession, the Aggies made a handful of plays for only 19-yards. However, junior quarterback Ben Scott was


able to find senior wide receiver Alex Cannon for a 30-yard pass that brought UC Davis down to NAU’s final yard line. Junior running back Manusamoa Luuga was able to rush the ball the final yard in two plays, giving the Aggies their first touchdown.

The Lumberjack’s next offensive would spell disaster for them. After nine plays and a total of 45 yards gained, Cookus rushed out of the pocket. He made it all the way to UC Davis’ 25-yard line before sophomore defensive back Darryl Graham forced a fumble that was recovered by DeVaughn, who continued running for a 19-yard gain for the Aggies.

Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, one for each team, offset each other, and the play went into review. The ruling on the field held, and it was the Aggies’ ball.

Scott made the absolute most of his next play, throwing a 51-yard pass to junior wide receiver Ramon Vargas for a touchdown. The kick attempt was good and the Aggies took the lead.

The first quarter ended with a short drive by the Lumberjacks, and the Aggies led 14-7.

Moving into the second quarter, the Lumberjacks advanced the ball all the way down to UC Davis’ 17-yard line. Their 35-yard field goal attempt was good, and the Lumberjacks cut into the Aggie lead.

The following Aggie offensive nearly spelled disaster for them. A fumble by freshman running back Joshua Kelley led to an NAU recovery and touchdown, but the hit that caused the fumble was deemed a personal foul and the Aggies once again took possession. This drive ended after 48 yards.

The next drive by the Aggies got them real results. A key 20-yard rush by Luuga brought the Aggies down into Lumberjack territory. This time, Stuart’s 38-yard field goal was good, putting the Aggies a full seven points ahead.

With 45 seconds left in the first half, the Lumberjacks made the most out of their final possession. Three quick plays brought them to UC Davis’ 18-yard line. Here, DeVaughn made a huge sack for a loss of five yards. A timeout was what NAU needed, and they were able to pass for 23 yards after the sack, scoring their second touchdown.

The half ended with a tie at 17-17.

The third quarter started with an Aggie offense. Ten plays and 75 yards brought Scott and the Aggies all the way down to the goal line, where a short pass to junior Chris Martin gave UC Davis another touchdown.

The next Lumberjack offensive did not go anywhere, as the Aggie defense held them to only 26 yards.

Another Aggie offensive turned into another touchdown after Scott found junior tight end Nehemiah Winston for a 25-yard pass. A successful PAT by Stuart, and the rest of the quarter passed without major gains by either side as the score turned to 31-17.

The fourth quarter started without much fanfare. On the Aggie’s second offensive, Luuga was able to rush for a combined total of 51 yards, including the final yard for a touchdown. The kick was good and UC Davis further solidified its lead, bringing the score to 38-17.

The Lumberjack’s following offensive saw two major plays, for 39 yards and 28 yards respectively. This put them in scoring distance, where they were able to get the final touchdown of the game.

The game ended with an Aggie victory, 38-24.

The Aggies will take this victory to heart and will Charlie Mike at Northern Colorado on Oct. 17.



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