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Saturday, April 13, 2024

UC Davis football defeats Sacramento State in 70th Causeway Classic

Larison leads Aggies with four touchdowns as they triumph 31 to 21

 

By LUCIENNE BROOKER — sports@theaggie.org

 

Despite torrential rain and fierce winds, the UC Davis Football team pulled out a 31-21 victory over the Sacramento State Hornets on Nov. 18. Even though the weather was dreary, the atmosphere at UC Davis Health Stadium was buzzing as fans from both teams huddled under umbrellas to watch the 70th Causeway Classic.

Coming into the match-up, the Aggies had a record of six wins and four losses during the season, while the Hornets had a similar record of seven wins and three losses. This victory was the first for UC Davis against Sacramento State since 2018, although they hold a 47-23 series advantage.

Even though there were concerns about a potential weather delay, the game kicked off right on time at noon. The Aggies opened the scoring early when third-year running back Lan Larison took a direct snap and forced his way through the Hornet defense for a touchdown.

Larison, an Idaho native, finished the game with four touchdowns, one shy of tying the school record of five touchdowns in one game. He ended the season with 10 touchdowns and was named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, despite missing three games due to an injury. A total of 12 Aggies earned conference recognition at the completion of the season.

Larison went on to score another touchdown in the first quarter of the game, putting the Aggies ahead 14-0. In the 2nd quarter, second-year Hunter Ridley converted a field goal to send the Aggies into halftime with a comfortable 17-0 lead.

“There was more rain than I’ve ever seen at Davis,” Hannah Like, a third-year student in attendance at the game, said. “Me and my friends left at halftime and ran back to our cars in this like insane pouring hurricane rain and got so wet, I could wring my jeans out and fill, like, a whole bucket.”

Following the relatively light rain in the first half, the second half brought down pouring rain, leaving fans to scramble for cover in the exposed stadium.

Luckily, the downpour relented as players began taking the field for the second half and the game was able to resume. With less than a minute to go in the third quarter, the Hornets finally got on the board, cutting Davis’ lead to 10.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the game became frantic and the Aggies found their control of the match slipping away. Although Larison scored his third touchdown to make the score 24-7, Sacramento State was not ready to go down without a fight. Four minutes later, the Hornets scored a second touchdown to make it 24-14. In response, Larison came to the Aggies’ rescue once again with his fourth and final touchdown. With the score at 31-14, and with only three minutes to go, Aggie fans were starting to celebrate — but the Hornets were not done yet. With two minutes left on the clock, they scored another touchdown but ultimately were not able to overcome the 10-point deficit.

Playoff hopes for the Aggies were renewed after the victory and everyone waited eagerly for news of decisions from the selection committee. With both the Aggies and the Hornets finishing with a 7-4 record, there was no way to predict which team would earn the playoff berth. Unfortunately for the Aggies, going undefeated in their last three games of the season was not enough to overcome their early losses and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) selection committee elected to send Sacramento State to the playoffs instead.

Although it was unknown at the time, the Sacramento State game was also the last game for Aggie Head Coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins announced on Nov. 29 that he was stepping away from coaching to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family. He finishes his coaching career with a 44-31 record, ranking third in coach wins in UC Davis football history.

“We are indebted to [Hawkins] for his years of dedication and passion for the Aggies,” UC Davis Athletics Director Rocko DeLuca said, “and excited to see what this well-earned and well-deserved next chapter brings.”

 

Written by: Lucienne Brooker — sports@theaggie.org

 

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