Thursday, April 17, 2014

Football Tab: Biggs shares more of his best memories

UCD head coach Bob Biggs applauds his team's effort during a 37-13 win over Weber State. The victory was the 142nd of a head coaching career that will end at the end of this, his 20th season. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

From page C2 | October 04, 2012 | Leave Comment

Putting together a top 10 list of best moments of Bob Biggs’ 20-year tenure as the UC Davis head football coach would only result in numerous people arguing over the list instead of celebrating the man behind it. So let’s make it 20.

Biggs, who has 35 years total coaching for the Aggies, announced last year that the 2012 season would be his last. As the second-winningest coach in UCD history, Biggs enters the season with a 140-78-1 record. The 20-for-20 is not a superlative list of greatest or best, but instead is a snapshot of highlights from Biggs’ career.

To see the first eight moments check out the Sept. 28 edition of Aggie sneak peek. Here some more of Biggs’ best memories …

9. Slaying the Spartans

Five years after knocking off Stanford, the Aggies played at San Jose State and rallied to upset the FBS Spartans, 14-13, in front of 17,844 fans in 2010. UCD quarterback Randy Wright, who threw for 223 years, found wide receiver Sean Creadick for an 11-yard gain on a third-and-six situation with approximately two minutes remaining to ice it. “That held us and gave us confidence to go on and seal the win,” Biggs said.

10. Grande O-line

The average size of a 2003 UCD offensive lineman was 6-foot-4, 312 pounds. Behind the great moving wall, the Aggies averaged nearly 400 yards of offense. The line featured brothers Brad (6-foot-7, 330 pounds) and Cory Lekkerkerker (6-6, 315) at tackle, Eric Troglia (6-4, 315) and All-American Forest Vance (6-5, 302) at guard and Marc Manfredda (6-3, 300) at center.

11. Battle in Boise

The Broncos, coached by UCD alum Chris Petersen, have risen to the top of college football and 2009 was no different. Boise State, ranked fifth at the time, found itself in a battle with the Aggies, who came in undaunted. UCD was within 11 points (at 27-16) in the fourth quarter and had two chances late to get even closer before the Broncos scored a last-second TD to provide the final margin (34-16). BSU finished 13-0 that season and beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

12. The other golden shoe

The only thing more golden than the legendary shoes of former quarterback Khari Jones (1991-93) was his play on the field. A prolific running and throwing threat, Jones is still ranked eighth on the Aggies’ all-time passing chart and is the all-time leading rushing QB in school history. He went on to an accomplished professional career in the Canadian Football League and still coaches in the league.

13. Faletoese named Buck Buchanan finalist

John Faletoese, an outstanding defensive tackle from Jesuit High in Sacramento, was a finalist for the top FCS defensive player honor in 2008. He earned that distinction for dominating play that resulted in 5.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and 32 totals tackles, amid double and triple teams his senior season. Faletoese was the Great West Defensive Player of the Year, and was named an All-American by the Associated Press.

14. OT win over South Dakota

In 2009, UCD saw a 17-3 lead against the Coyotes dwindle in the second half, leading to its first overtime game in six years. But despite nearly 10,000 raucous fans at the cozy DakotaDome, the Aggies came up huge on offense and special teams in OT, snapping an eight-game road losing streak. UCD went on to win five of its last seven games.

15. Preston Jackson runs haywire

One of the most prolific running backs in UCD history, Preston Jackson enjoyed a monster season in 1993, helping the Aggies claim a share of the American West Championship. Jackson had more than 1,800 rushing yards and a couple dozen touchdowns. He was held to less than 100 yards only once and highlighted his season with a 243-yard effort in the Causeway Classic.

16. Infamous ‘bus play’ tops Cal Poly

The Aggies and Mustangs have played some classic games through the years and the 2004 matchup in San Luis Obispo is among the best. Trailing 33-28 with 40 seconds left in the game, UCD drove 39 yards in three plays to Cal Poly’s 14-yard line. With 18 ticks remaining, the Aggies went to a play designed on the bus ride to SLO the day before. The result? Quarterback Jon Grant found wide receiver Tony Kays wide open in the end zone for the deciding tally in a wild 36-33 win.

“We were on the bus going down, and we finally had laptops, so we could watch film on the way,” said Biggs, who noticed a hitch in the Cal Poly defense. “We were trailing when Jesse Oliva said, ‘What about that play?’ It reminded me of when we drew up plays for Texas A&M-Kingsville on the plane. … People wonder, ‘Coach, why can’t you think of something during the week, why wait to the last second?’ It’s just the way it worked out.”

17. Remembering Toomey Field

As a player and coach, perhaps no place has brought more memories to Biggs than Toomey Field, the Aggies’ home for more than a half-century. From 1993 to 2006, the coach compiled a remarkable 62-17-1 record, including three unbeaten seasons and NCAA Division II playoff wins in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

“Toomey Field is always going to hold sort of special feelings for me,” said Biggs, who played quarterback on the field and coached there. “We had the cannon (blast) when we scored a touchdown and a steam engine. … There was something about the intimacy of the place. It was our home field, we took pride in it. … People ask me, ‘Do you miss playing at Toomey Field?’ I miss the memories of Toomey Field, but I don’t necessary miss playing at Toomey Field.”

18. J.T. O’Sullivan receives Heisman vote

UC Davis finished 12-1 in 2000, just one game shy of earning a trip to the NCAA Division II national championship. A big reason was the play of quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan, who threw for 3,679 yards and 38 touchdowns, while posting a passing rating of 193.85. How big was his season? The future NFL player was the only Division II player that season to earn a vote for the Heisman Trophy. He currently plays for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. “You never knew what to expect with J.T.,” Biggs said. “I think he brought a lot of media attention to the system.”

19. Cal Poly rivalry

For Biggs, the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe against Cal Poly stirs up memories of UCD legends — Tony Kays, Jesse Oliva and Jon Grant, to name a few. There are many amazing moments that rivalry has brought to the Aggies and Mustangs. “It seems that the game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter,” said Biggs, of the numerous close call and comebacks. “I just think it’s a natural rivalry; we have so much in common. It’s a game of proximity of California — we recruit similar kids. They’re great memories. It’s a game I look forward to every year.”

20. In the beginning

Bob Biggs took over the football program as interim head coach under an interim athletic director. The future of football was uncertain as students went to the polls to vote on whether to tax themselves and keep various sports. “We were battling to keep the football program,” said Biggs, remembering that first year. “We saved football and dropped the freshman team. I was probably too young and too naive to understand everything.

“Was I prepared to be the head coach? That’s probably debatable. I was excited to put the staff together. … Being my first season, it was so much fun — maybe because I didn’t feel any pressure because I’d been hired as interim head coach. My goal was to be open and honest with the staff and players and to have no regrets about decisions I made. It was a wonderful year, a great time.”

Enterprise staff


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