UC Davis Health Stadium saw a record-breaking opening night on Sept. 17
By GABRIEL CARABALLO — email@example.com
On Saturday night, the Aggies came into their home opener with an 0-2 record but were greeted by a thundering roar from a record-breaking 14,392 fans in attendance at UC Davis Health Stadium. As the University of San Diego started their opening drive, the Aggies’ defense swarmed their offense, leading to a tackle and a loss of yards, taking it to second down. On the next down, Aggies’ fourth-year linebacker Justin Martz delivered a sack straight to the opposing quarterback. The sack dragged San Diego back 12 more yards, causing a fourth down.
Next, the Aggies took their opening drive of the first quarter, and it couldn’t have started better. After rushing the ball for a couple of first downs, second-year quarterback Miles Hastings threw his first of three touchdowns of the game to third-year wide receiver Justin Kraft for a 16-yard completion, putting UC Davis up 7-0 early in the game.
“It’s been a long road,” UC Davis Head Coach Dan Hawkins said. He went on to credit his team’s “grit, perseverance, and resiliency” that brought home the win.
The Toreros continued their offensive slump when quarterback Judd Erickson threw an interception to the Aggies’ first-year linebacker Porter Conners, who returned it for an extensive 22-yard gain. It was on this offensive drive that fourth-year running back Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., who rushed for 107 yards and completed a touchdown by the end of the contest, rushed for an epic 44 yards and broke the UC Davis rushing record with 3,590 career-rushing yards. This led the team to another endzone score, extending their lead to 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
“I’m really proud of him […] to see Ulonzo break all the running back records is surreal,” Hawkins said. “We’ve got a very good offensive line and talented backs. If you want to win the championship or win the last game, you have to run the ball and stop the run that’s just eternal.”
The Aggies garnered a total of 194 yards and three touchdowns while rushing the football against the Toreros.
The second quarter started with a bang as linebacker graduate student Evan Tattersall blocked USD’s punt attempt, allowing the Aggies to start at the Toreros 19-yard-line, which ultimately led to a rushing touchdown, putting the Aggies up 21-0.
“Evan Hicks, our special teams coach, has worked hard and [has] done a nice job […] — as well as Brett Arkelian — getting things schemed up,” Hawkins said. “We wish we would’ve scored on it, but that was big.”
By the end of the second quarter, UC Davis led 35-7.
To start the third quarter, the Aggies missed a field-goal attempt and allowed the Toreros to make it into the endzone, making the score 35-13 in favor of the home team. With about four minutes left in the quarter, Hastings threw his longest pass of the game, an epic 62-yard touchdown to second-year Josh Gale.
“He can run; it was fun to see [Gale] have some success. He’s talented,” Hawkins said.
This touchdown ended the third quarter, and with it, any hope for a comeback by the Toreros. The score was 43-13 after a successful 2-point conversion.
The Aggies rushed for a total of 196 yards and passed for a total of 281 yards while the Toreros totaled 166 yards rushing and 186 yards through the air. The Aggies scored on all five of their end zone chances.
“We’re going to enjoy this win and tomorrow get crankin’ on Weber [State],” Hawkins said.
Next, UC Davis will host Weber State on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 pm/pst. Following Weber State, UC Davis will travel to face Montana State, Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm/pst.
Written by: Gabriel Caraballo — firstname.lastname@example.org