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UCD football notebook: Aggies head into Causeway Classic

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From page B1 | November 19, 2013 |

There are a lot of notes in the UC Davis football folder.

Let’s get right to the analysis of Saturday’s win over North Dakota — and what might lie ahead in the Aggies’ season finale against arch-rival Sacramento State.

Bend but don’t break — Despite allowing 368 yards passing, UCD held UND to just one, fourth-period touchdown pass and managed to record three sacks.

Among the most prolific local defenders were defensive linemen Anthony Kaspar and Zak Pettit and cornerback Jonathan Perkins.

“We knew they had good receivers,” the senior Perkins told The Enterprise after his team’s 34-18 win. “We just had to trust our technique. Keep their guys in front of us.”

Perkins had three tackles and defended two passes (on one series he had two other knock-downs called back on Aggie penalties).

Secondarymates Dre Allen (seven tackles), Aarynn Jones (six), Shamawn Wright (six), Charles Boyett (six) and Tre Sayles III (a late interception) contributed while the defensive line kept the pressure on North Dakota quarterbacks Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg.

Pettit, a freshman from Truckee High, had two sacks and Kaspar, the senior from Dana Hills, added six tackles and a sack of his own.

Something to kick (or not to kick) about — UCD showed continued life on special teams, including Perkins’ second-quarter 72-yard kickoff return, which set up running back Gabe Manzanares’ 17-yard TD run on the next play.

Boyett returned three punts for a 19.6 average. His best runback, a 44-yarder, provided enough enemy-territory penetration to arrange for Brady Stuart’s third of four field goals.

But it was the fancy footwork of punter Colby Wadman that drew much fan appreciation.

On a fourth-and-9 in the third period, with the Aggies sitting at their own 27, the freshman from Thousand Oaks High faked a punt and ran 24 yards for a first down.

Unfortunately, the daring move didn’t get UCD any more points — Wadman would have to really punt nine plays later.

Gould said the Aggies work on fake kicks and other specialty plays all season. It’s up to special teams coach Jeff Kopp to identify the spots in which he thinks a fake kick might work.

Once identified, Gould gets a request from Kopp.

In this case, Wadman and Kopp got a green light.

Speaking of four field goals — Thanks to his career-best four three-pointers on Saturday, Stuart was named Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week (for the second time this season). The Newhall product hit kicks of 18, 29, 32 and 35 yards. The sophomore has now converted eight straight attempts and is 15-for-22 on the year. At one point he was 2-for-7 early in the schedule.

Sacramento State QB Garrett Safron earned Offensive Player of the Week honors for the third time this season. Safron accounted for 596 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in beating Portland State, 43-42, Saturday.

Southern Utah linebacker Tyler Holley had two interceptions and nine tackles in the Thunderbirds’ 22-14 upset of No. 8 Montana. For his performance he was tabbed Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week.

Goodbye, old friend — Senior guard Jimmy Kunkel — at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds no small reason for Manzanares’ 2013 success — said he looked up at the clock with about three minutes left Saturday night and “that’s when it hit me: my last home game.”

“I was thinking about how great it’s been here. This win was bittersweet.”

The game marked a successful home swan song for 15 Aggie seniors, most of whom contributed in the win that put UCD at 4-7 overall and 4-3 in Big Sky.

And then there’s Manzanares — With another 132 yards rushing, the junior from San Francisco now has five consecutive 100-yard games and 1,163 yards for 2013.

That’s the eighth-best single-season rushing total in Aggie history and Manzanares needs only 21 yards to pass Matt Brown (1,183 in 2000) and go into the seventh spot. A 125-yard game puts him all the way past G.P. Muhammad (1,287 in 1998) for No. 4 all-time.

“He’s the heartbeat of this team,” Gould said.

About this Safron guy at Sac State — The Hornets came from behind to beat Portland State, 43-42, Saturday, thanks to the Santa Monica High grad’s huge game.

Safron threw for 554 yards — breaking his own school mark of 412. It is the second most passing yards in the Football Championship Subdivision this fall. His 596 total yards of offense also rank second this season (18th all-time in FCS history).

For good measure, he set Sacramento State single-season records for completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns.

Safron also was named FCS Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards.

He has passed for 3,526 yards and 27 TDs this season, while rushing for 553 yards and seven more scores. Safron’s 320.5 total yards per game ranks seventh in the FCS.

Gould knows the 28-points-per-game Hornet offense will be difficult to prepare for, but remember that Aggie Bend-Don’t-Break attitude? It will be put to the test when the two squads meet in the 60th renewal of the Causeway Classic Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.

Causeway Classic goodwill — As Eric Bankston of Aggie media relations says, UCD and Sacramento State are putting the “cause” in the Causeway Classic by fundraising for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“For every ticket purchased, ScholarShare (California’s 529 College Savings Plan) will donate $1 to the children’s hospital,” Bankston reported.

There are other elements involved Saturday that should provide warm feelings and hospital awareness:

*Seven-year-old Cadence Stamper will participate in the game’s coin toss. Little Ms. Stamper was admitted to the hospital in July after suffering a stroke and losing her mobility. She can walk again and will be at midfield for the game-opening ceremony.

*The UC Davis Pediatric Critical Care ambulance will be on display.

*A UCD Children’s Hospital booth will provide additional facility information. Donations will be accepted there. Also, fans can text ICARE to 80000 to donate $10 to the Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.”

Tickets for Saturday’s game can be purchased at 916- 278-2222 or by visiting www.hornetsports.com/tickets.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise or 530-747-8047.

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