Ranked in the FCS, UC Davis football started 5-0 for the first time since 2004 and now return for homecoming on Oct. 16.
As the UC Davis football team played at home in front of 11,622 fans, UC Davis Health Studium’s atmosphere was electric. However, heading into the fourth quarter, Idaho’s defense had zapped that energy. Trailing 13-20, the UC Davis football team’s offense was flatlined and their perfect season seemed to be a mirage.
The Aggies overcame adversity and won 27-20 in exhilarating fashion thanks to the elusive Trent Tompkins, a redshirt freshman wildcat quarterback. UC Davis brought their season record up to 5-0, a feat they hadn’t accomplished since 2004.
“There are a lot of guys that said, ‘Hey, that was an Aggie pride win,’” Coach Dan Hawkins said. “And it kind of was. There was a time there in the third quarter where I was really thinking to myself, ‘We don’t necessarily maybe deserve to win this game.’ But our guys made plays to win the game and that’s kind of that Aggie pride.”
Backup quarterback redshirt freshman Miles Hastings started the game in place of injured starter Hunter Rodrigues. Hastings demonstrated potential as he kept his poise in the pocket passing for 33 yards with one touchdown and completing 4 out of 5 of his passes to end the first quarter.
The second quarter was back and forth as UC Davis scored a field goal within the first two minutes to take the lead, 10-6. In response, Idaho generated 10 plays that produced 61 yards, resulting in a two-yard rushing touchdown by third string running back Aundre Carter.
With 6:09 left to play in the second quarter, quarterback Hastings led the Aggies down the field. Unfortunately, on second and third, stout running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr. dropped a crucial pass at the 14-yard line that would’ve given UC Davis the first down. On the next play, Hastings looked uncomfortable and threw an incomplete pass to Gilliam Jr. That would bring on the kicker, Isaiah Gomez, for a 31-yard field goal that would tie the game 13-13.
In the next series, Idaho marched down the field to score a rushing touchdown by Zach Borisch. Idaho was up 20-13, gaining momentum and taking full control of the game.
Idaho’s defense began to take a toll on Hastings, as he was sacked and began to feel the pressure when Idaho utilized the blitz package. Once pressured by the defense, Hastings overthrew and under threw his receivers and ultimately was intercepted as the ball went through the hands of wide receiver McCallan Castles.
“I thought Miles Hastings did a really nice job coming in for Hunter and did some really good things,” said Hawkins. ”He started cramping up, and we went with magic, and magic did magical things.”
Hastings’ night would end in the third quarter due to cramps, with 26 seconds left in the third quarter as he finished with 15 out of 27 completions, 144 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Tompkins replaced injured Hastings for the Aggies, which was pivotal as the deflated crowd began to witness magic. Tompkins’ first pass attempt was good for 16 yards. The following drive, Tompkins operated from the shotgun as Idaho blitzed and the pocket collapsed. Tompkins took off running, swerving in and out of lanes and making defenders miss. Tompkins gained 21 yards on the play to end the third quarter.
“I do want to make a comment about the crowd which was magnificent,” Hawkins said. “It’s big to our players, it’s big in recruiting. We do have a magical atmosphere here.”
The momentum swung. Once again, Health Stadium was roaring. Tompkins followed the next play with seven yards on the ground, once again evading defenders effortlessly. The next two drives were two completions in a row including an eight-yard touchdown pass to running back Gilliam Jr. to tie the game at 20-20.
Idaho seemed to be confused and their offense stalled throughout the entire fourth quarter. The offense could not generate any points against the Aggies’ energized defense.
UC Davis Health Stadium was in for a treat; Tompkins once again operated from the shotgun and threw a lateral pass to Carson Crawford, who then threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Castles to give UCD the lead, 27-20.
The Aggies’ defense was fundamental in stopping Idaho as they blocked a field goal attempt with four minutes and 14 seconds left on the clock.
Idaho would eventually get the ball back with under two minutes on the clock. However, quarterback Mike Beaudry was intercepted by Devon King to seal the victory for UC Davis.
“The defense made some opportunistic fourth down stops, which was really critical,” Hawkins said. “And then it just was really wonderful to see King come in and make the game-winning interception.”
Tompkins completed four out of four of his passes, 45 yards passing, with one touchdown. He led the team with 85 yards rushing on 13 attempts. The Aggies improved their record to 5-0. Furthermore, the home crowd witnessed a memorable game that was sprinkled with magic.
UC Davis looked to go 6-0 in a Big Sky Conference showdown at Idaho State on Saturday, Oct. 9, but was clipped by the Bengals, ending their undefeated start to the year. After falling behind 24-3 at halftime, the deficit was just too much to overcome as they fell by a final score of 27-17 in favor of Idaho State. They will look to regroup at homecoming on Oct. 16, as they will take on the Northern Colorado Bears at UC Davis Health Stadium.
Written by: Marlon Rolon — firstname.lastname@example.org