2014 Aggie football schedule considered toughest ever

By From page B1 | February 26, 2014

Longtime Aggie football coach Bob Biggs did no favors for current UC Davis mentor Ron Gould when he and his crew went into Palo Alto and beat Stanford, 20-17, on Sept. 17, 2005.

For many, the image of UCD quarterback Jon Grant taking the locals on a 72-yard scoring drive as the then-Division II Aggies upset the Cardinal remains vivid.

The two schools haven’t met since, but that all changes on Aug. 30 when UCD opens its 2014 season by returning to the scene of the crime.

Such things tend to linger in the minds of the vanquished, usually for decades.

As Gould looked over the recently announced Aggie schedule, he wasn’t about to trifle with those long-term memories. He talked about the here and now …

“We have a lot respect for Stanford,” says the former Cal assistant. “It is one of the perennial powerhouses in the country. It’s a great opportunity for us and one that we embrace.”

The Cardinal went 11-3 last season, losing to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl before settling into a No. 11 final national ranking.

After the opener, UCD makes its home debut Sept. 6 against Division II Fort Lewis (4-7) of the Rocky Mountain Athletic League.

The Aggies go to Fort Collins the following week — their second game of 2014 against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe, this time Colorado State.

The Rams were 8-6 a year ago and beat Washington State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Just when local fans might think their boys are out of danger, the demanding Big Sky Conference kicks off with an Aggie Stadium visit from defending champ Eastern Washington (12-3) on Sept. 27.

The Eagles were a Football Championship Subdivision semifinalist last season. It marks the first trip to Davis for EWU.

Portland State hosts UCD (Oct. 4) before Montana State (Oct. 11) is in Davis. On Oct. 18, the Aggies are off to Montana, before returning home Nov. 1 to play Northern Colorado.

UCD is on the road for games at Northern Arizona (Nov. 8) and Cal Poly (Nov. 15) before closing out the regular season against cross-Causeway rival Sacramento State.

Gould says he agrees with those who think this is the program’s toughest schedule, ever.

“We have a great schedule,” Gould told The Enterprise. “A lot of teams that played in the playoffs or bowl games.

“Every game in the conference is a heavyweight fight. You have to bring your A-game, you have to be prepared, you have to be mentally, physically and emotionally ready to play.”

Gould’s 2013 Aggies finished 5-7 — a strong 5-3 Big Sky record coming after UCD began 0-4.

“Five and three in conference was not good enough for us,” the Oregon graduate continues. “Our expectations within ourselves are a lot higher.

“This is an exciting schedule for our fans as well as our team.

“We’re looking forward to filling Aggie Stadium and making it a very difficult place for our opponents to play.”

Notes: Season tickets go on sale April 2 through www.ucdavisaggies.com (click on “tickets”). An athletic department spokesman says game times will be announced this spring. … Speaking of this spring, UCD begins early workouts April 2. The public is invited to a Blue-and-Gold Scrimmage, slated for April 26, with the annual Aggie Golf Tournament due April 25 at El Macero (for more information about registration or sponsorship, contact Tate Corcoran at 530-754-7548). … Montana State has shared the Big West title three of the past four years. … Saving the Best for Last Dept.: Longtime rivals Cal Poly and Sacramento State are the final two regular-season outings. The Aggies hold a slim 19-17-2 lead over the Mustangs in that series, which dates back to 1939. UCD spanked the Hornets, 34-7, to end 2013 and improve its all-time record to 43-18 against Sac State.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456

Bruce Gallaudet

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