Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aggies enter The Inferno on Saturday

UCD senior linebacker Jordan Glass — seen here making a stop against Montana State — leads the Aggies in tackles heading into Saturday's game at No. 5 Eastern Washington. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

From page B1 | November 09, 2012 | Leave Comment

It’s been written about several times in these pages but it bears repeating as the sentiment keeps coming from the league’s coaches — the Big Sky Conference is very strong in 2012.

The UC Davis football team (3-6, 2-4) — though coming off of a bye last week — has been reminded of this on the field each of the previous six weeks, and will get a refresher on Saturday when it travels to Roos Stadium to face No. 5 Eastern Washington.

Ironically, though the Eagles feature a red turf field nicknamed The Inferno, the forecast for Saturday’s kickoff has temperatures below freezing.

As proof of how tough UCD’s Big West schedule has been, three of its four conference losses have come against teams atop the league standings. And now the Aggies face Eastern Washington (7-2, 6-1), which was No. 1 in the Football Bowl Championship ranking earlier this year.

“Week in and week out it’s a great challenge and, quite frankly, just about anybody on any given week can give somebody else a great game, if not win,” Aggie coach Bob Biggs said of his program’s initial foray through the Big Sky.

No. 11 Northern Arizona sits on top of the conference with its 6-0 Big Sky record, while No. 2 Montana State (5-1), which beat the Aggies 48-41 on Oct. 6, is just behind the second-place Eagles. Behind the Grizzlies is No. 19 Cal Poly, which includes a 28-20 win over UCD on Sept. 22 as part of its 5-2 league mark.

But the scores against Montana State and Cal Poly reveal another point of view in examining the strength of the Big Sky. While the Aggies face tough opposition each week, their opponents are facing a UCD team that is capable of winning on any given Saturday.

Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin certainly has his guard up, especially after his squad’s 30-27 loss last month to Southern Utah, which has a similar record as the Aggies.

“You’ve got to study the opponent you’re playing … and not pay any attention to what their record is,” Baldwin said on the weekly Big West teleconference. “Every team is a challenge in this conference right now. We’re going to play a very good UC Davis team, and we have to do things right if we are going to have a chance to win on Saturday.”

Baldwin knows his team has to deal with an Aggie offense that can gain yardage on the ground and through the air, and is at its best when it can establish the run to set up play-action passes down the field.

UCD’s Randy Wright, who is near the end of his third full season as the starter, has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,930 yards and 11 touchdowns — though his 12 interceptions have been a problem.

On the ground, the Aggies don’t have one dominant runner but have used their four horsemen — Marquis Nicolis, Colton Silveria, Courtney Williams and the bruising Dalton Turay — to combine for 1,264 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and 15 TDs.

The Eagles offense must deal with UCD’s two star linebackers in Jordan Glass (67 tackles, including 7.5 for loss) and Byron Gruendl (68, 5) — who each have two interceptions — as well as pass-rushing linemen Andrew Benjamin and Nick King, who are tied for the team lead with 4.5 sacks apiece.

And if the Aggies are forced to punt, Colton Schmidt’s 43.6 average is the seventh-best in the country.

Game time is 1:35 p.m., and the game can be heard on KHTK (1140 AM).

Notes: Eastern Washington will have to come out strong as UCD has outscored opponents, 68-35, in the first quarter this season. … Eagles QB Vernon Adams is the Big Sky’s reigning Offensive Player of the Week after completing 19-of-29 pass for 299 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 68 more yards in a 34-17 win over Cal Poly. “They’ve got a terrific pass game with some very talented receivers, probably as talented a group of receivers as we’ve seen all year. But they run the ball effectively as well,” Biggs said. “You throw in Vernon Adams and his ability to make plays with his legs … they’re prolific, they’re gonna score their points. I think what you have to do is contain them and make them work for everything they get.”

— Reach Chris Saur at or 530-747-8049.


Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy



Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12



Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8





Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11







Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6