Friday, January 30, 2015

Throw away the scores when UCD host Portland State

UCD senior Colton Schmidt is on pace to break his own school record in punting average. After a big game last week at Northern Arizona, Schmidt's next chance to increase his average is Saturday when the Aggies host Portland State at 2 p.m. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

From page B1 | October 26, 2012 |

Comparing scores among common opponents isn’t a good way to predict college football games. If it was, UC Davis would have been just a couple of touchdowns away from winning the 2005 national championship.

You see, the Aggies upset Stanford by three points that year, USC beat the Cardinal by 30 then lost by three to Texas in the BCS title game, putting UCD just 30 points behind the Longhorns.

The quick calculations before Saturday’s matchup with Portland State aren’t pretty — the Vikings pounded Idaho State by 67 points and the Aggies only edged the Bengals by seven — but again, that’s not how college football works.

But while PSU (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky Conference) shouldn’t go into the 2 p.m. contest at Aggie Stadium favored by 60 over UCD (3-5, 2-3), the Vikings are tough nonetheless.

“It is going to be a challenge,” said Bob Biggs, who is heading into the first of his final three games as the Aggies’ head coach. “That’s the thing with this doggone conference. I mean, every week you’re in a battle, and I expect that this week with Portland State.”

Though the Aggies scored just seven points in last week’s loss at No. 13 Northern Arizona, they averaged 43.3 points per game in the previous three outings. UCD’s last three losses have come against teams ranked in the top 13 of the Football Championship Subdivision poll.

Their offensive explosion culminated in the 52-45 victory over Idaho State, during which UCD put up 640 yards of offense that was spilt equally between the run and the pass.

In that game, quarterback Randy Wright had the third 300-yard passing game of his career, while two different backs — Colton Silveria (121) and Marquis Nicolis (105) — rushed for more than 100 yards. Another tailback, Davis High graduate Courtney Williams, added another 84 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns.

If the Aggies can get back to that kind of production on Saturday, the matchup with Portland State could turn into a shootout.

That’s because the Vikings boast one of the most prolific offenses in the country. PSU is 17th among FCS teams in total yards (442.3 pg), 18th in scoring (34.6 ppg) and 20th in rushing (202.7 ypg).

“Their versatility on offense is what bothers you,” Biggs said. “They can run the option attack (and) their quarterback (freshman Kieran McDonagh) … is effective throwing the ball when he has time to throw.

“(Receiver Justin) Monahan gives him a big target to throw at. They move the ball around. They make you play sideline to sideline. I just think they have a very good package.”

Notes: Saturday’s game is the central part of Parents Weekend at UC Davis. If the Aggie players needed any extra motivation, having their parents in the stands should do the trick. … After hitting for 46.3 yards per kick against NAU, UCD punter Colton Schmidt’s season average is up to 43.33. Schmidt is 12th among FCS punters this year and, if he can keep that average up, will break his own school record set in 2011. … The Vikings are coached by Nigel Burton, whom Biggs recruited when Burton played at Jesuit in the early 1990s. Burton ended up playing at Washington. “He’s very competitive. Watching his team play, it reflects a lot of his personality. They play fast and they play hard, which is kind of what he’s all about,” Biggs said.

— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or 530-747-8049.



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