Enterprise staff writer
The King is dead. Long live the Prince!
Well, only until next year, if youÕre a UC Davis football fan.
In an offensive explosion Ñ featuring a record-tying passing performance by Southern UtahÕs Brad Sorensen Ñ the Thunderbirds swooped into Aggie Stadium and flew home with the Great West Conference crown by defeating the defending champion Aggies, 55-24, on Saturday.
Sorensen, who came to town with only 11 touchdown passes in his previous eight contests, threw for five scores and 397 yards as the sophomore hit on 30-of-36 attempts. The five TDs tied a T-Birds record, held by three others.
ÒSometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due,Ó UCD head coach Bob Biggs said after his team fell to 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the GWC. ÒSorensen played extremely well … he had a lot of gifted receivers on the field.Ó
Four different SUU players collected gifts from Sorensen, whose favorite target was Las Vegas native Tyson Poots (12 catches, 191 yards and three TDs).
ÒHeÕs just a great player,Ó Biggs remarked about the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Poots. ÒSomebody is going to give him a chance to play (professionally).Ó
If the NFL looks only at this game, Poots could go in the first round.
With UCD still in contention but trailing 10-7 early, Poots caught an 18-yard scoring strike from Sorensen to start a T-Bird run that would see the margins expand to 34-10, 41-17 and finally 55-24.
ÒWe had no answers,Ó Biggs continued, noting that Southern Utah (and Sorensen) made
adjustments every time the Aggies coaches tried something different.
When UCD blitzed, the Thunderbirds ran draws past the onrushing linebackers. When the Aggies zoned, dropping the Õbackers deeper, Sorensen threw underneath. When UCD covered strongly to the outside, SUU coach Ed Lamb stuck it to a weakened middle.
ÒActually, our plan was to run more. IÕd prefer to run more and keep our defense off the field,Ó Lamb explained. ÒBut IÕm happy with how it went.Ó
The 55 points were the second most the Aggies have allowed in their new stadium. Cal Poly stung the locals 63-28 on Oct. 13, 2007.
The all-time worst UCD defensive performance came in 1928, when UCD lost to Ñ get this Ñ Sacramento City College, 65-12.
Saturday afternoon started out promisingly. UCD took the opening kickoff and wound its way from its own 27 deep into T-Bird territory.
While running backs Nick Aprile, Corbin Cutshaw and Davis High graduate Josh Reese shared the ground load, a 14-yard pass from quarterback Randy Wright to Dean Rogers had the Ags at the SUU 36. But after a four-yard gain by Cutshaw, disaster struck …
Wright underthrew a pass in the right flat and T-Bird linebacker Blake Fenn stepped in, intercepted and went 73 yards for the gameÕs first score.
Soon after, SUUÕs Brock Miller added a 36-yard field goal and UCD trailed 10-0.
But the Aggies answered.
A five-play, 75-yard drive took only 2:11, culminating in a 44-yard TD strike to white-hot wideout Sean Creadick. When Sean KelleyÕs point-after cleared, it would be the closest UCD got the rest of the night, 10-7.
From there, SUU touchdowns by Poots, Fesi Sitake (11 yards from Sorensen) and Sorensen (a one-yard plunge) were countered only by KelleyÕs 36-yard field goal.
Southern Utah (5-4, 4-0) led 31-10 at halftime.
Two short touchdowns by Aprile kept things relatively close in the second half, but they were no answer for SorensenÕs second-half TD passes to Poots (42 and 13 yards) and Sitake (seven yards) and MillerÕs 30-yard three-pointer.
For Creadick, who caught nine passes for 134 yards, it was the fourth game in the last five that heÕs gone over the century mark in yardage.
Meanwhile, while running for his life much of the evening, Wright completed 22-of-35 passes with the one pick and the scoring toss to Creadick. His effort was good for 278 yards.
ÒThereÕs not much else to say,Ó Biggs concluded. ÒWeÕll all look at each other tomorrow and say ÔNice job, Southern Utah.ÕÓ
UCD now takes to the road for games at North Dakota and Cal Poly (Battle for the Golden Horseshoe) before returning home for the Causeway Classic, the season finale against Sacramento State.