Enterprise staff writer
It would be easy to blame Sean Kelley for the UC Davis football teamÕs 24-21 loss to South Alabama on Saturday.
After all, the normally reliable junior kicker Ñ who made 16 straight field goals at one point over the past two years and was 8-for-9 this year Ñ did miss both of his attempts in the game, including a 34-yarder that could have tied the score as time expired.
But while itÕs true that Kelley could have sent the game into overtime, the Aggies had plenty of chances to take control earlier in the contest. UCD failed to capitalize on four Jaguar turnovers Ñ both of KelleyÕs misses came after takeaways Ñ while it also gave up a pair of big returns by South AlabamaÕs T.J. Glover, which led to 10 points.
ÒThis one stings and this one hurts because we had opportunities,Ó said Aggie head coach Bob Biggs. ÒItÕs the kind of game weÕve been able to win the last two times. I think everybody on the sideline expected we were going to be able to make that field goal and go to overtime.Ó
Added UCD quarterback Randy Wright, ÒIt shouldnÕt have come down to the field goal.Ó
The Aggies continue to lack consistency on offense and remain an all-or-nothing team. UCD either drives all the way down the field Ñ it had three touchdown drives of at least 65 yards Ñ or gives the ball right back. The Aggies had seven drives where they ran four or fewer plays and eight where they gained less than 16 yards.
UCDÕs effort on the ground Ñ 109 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries Ñ looks mediocre on first glance. But if you take out the four times Wright was sacked, the Aggies finished with 138 yards on 26 rushes, and the 5.3 yards per attempt is UCDÕs second- best ground performance of the year.
After putting up 33 and 38 points in back-to-back games against Portland State and San Diego in their second and third outings of the year, the Aggies have been held to less than 21 in all four contests since. ItÕs a trend the team knows has to change.
ÒWe put up 21 points, which is all right, but we need to put up more in the game,Ó Wright said.
Numbers even: The final statistics for both teams were remarkably similar on Saturday.
Both teams picked up 20 first downs and passed for 238 yards in the game, while UCD had 23 completions to South AlabamaÕs 22, though the visitors tossed nine fewer passes. The Jaguars did have a 22-yard advantage in the running game, which led to them outgaining UCD 369-347.
Nearly all of that difference, however, was due to sacks. Wright was taken down four times for 29 yards, while South Alabama lost 11 yards on three sacks. Those removed, the Jaguars outgained UCD by only four yards on the ground.
Specialists get tackles: Coaches never want their kicker and punter to be in a position to make a tackle, but they also want the players to get it done if it happens.
Punter Colton Schmidt had two assists entering Saturday, but recorded the first solo tackle of the season in the first quarter as he tripped Glover up. Kelley picked up his first tackle, also of Glover, when he assisted on a kickoff return in the third quarter.
Schmidt, a sophomore, has five tackles in his Aggie career, three solo and two assists. Kelley also has five stops, four being solo efforts.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at [email protected] or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story or check out The Enterprise sports blog at www.davisenterprise.com. To view photo galleries and purchase prints of UCD football visit http://photos.davisenterprise.com