Enterprise staff writer
From 2003 to 2008, the San Diego football team went a combined 55-12, winning at least seven games each year and losing more than two in a season only once.
During the end of that run, third-year head coach Jim Harbaugh left for Stanford after 2006, following back-to-back 11-1 seasons. After going 9-2 the next year Ñ under current head coach Ron Caragher Ñ quarterback Josh Johnson graduated and went to the NFL.
The Toreros still posted another 9-2 mark in 2008, but went only 4-7 last season and enter SaturdayÕs game against UC Davis at 0-2 thanks to blowout losses at the hands of NAIA Azusa Pacific and Southern Utah by a cumulative score of 74-17.
ÒTheyÕve struggled offensively fairly mightily,Ó Aggie head coach Bob Biggs said. ÒThey just donÕt look like they have the same sort of offensive personnel that theyÕve had in past years. TheyÕre struggling a little bit on the offensive line and not giving the quarterback much protection.Ó
USD junior quarterback Sam Scudellari started early in 2009 before missing the final four games due to injury. After winning the job during camp, heÕs had some issues early and completed only 20-of-44 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the two games.
Receiver Kyle Warren played only against Azusa Pacific but had a big game, catching four balls for 104 yards and two scores. Godfrey Smith is a decent second wideout with six catches for 57 yards on the season.
While the passing game has certainly struggled Ñ San Diego had only 34 yards passing against Southern Utah Ñ the running game hasnÕt done its part either. The Toreros have rushed for 161 yards in the two games and are averaging just 2.1 yards per attempt. Kenslow Smith leads the team with 105 yards on the ground, but has needed 35 carries to do it.
Biggs said heÕs not completely sure about San DiegoÕs style of offense, because theyÕve already shown a variety of different looks.
ÒTheyÕre more conventional Ñ theyÕre not a pistol or fly option team Ñ and do a little bit of everything,Ó Biggs said. ÒIt seems as if theyÕre searching for answers. They run all kinds of different things. It really is kind of a hodgepodge of stuff and it looks like theyÕre trying to find some answers, which is not too atypical when youÕre struggling offensively.Ó
The offensive struggles, however, arenÕt the sole reason for the TorerosÕ slow start as the other side of the ball has had its share of problems.
San Diego has allowed 892 yards in the two games, with an equal balance between the air (426) and the ground (466), and is giving up seven yards per play. Additionally, opponents have picked up 22 first downs with five touchdowns on the ground while getting 18 and four, respectively, through the air.
The poor team defense, however, does not mean the Toreros lack standout players. Defensive end Mario Kurn recorded four sacks against Southern Utah after having one against Azusa Pacific, and he leads the team with 15 tackles on the season. On the other side of the line, Kellan Barker has 11 tackles, including one for a loss, and a forced fumble.
Biggs said that the two USD starting cornerbacks Ñ Jamil Wade (six tackles) and Fred Obi (13 tackles, one interception) Ñ are also strong.
ÒThey run a 4-3 and theyÕll play you in three-deep and will zone blitz you but they arenÕt afraid to play man,Ó Biggs said. ÒMario Kurn is a very good player and the guy on the other side (Barker), is a good player also. They like their corners, too, so that gives them the chance to play some man.Ó
Notes: UCD leads the all-time series between the two teams 2-1 as they played each year from 2006-08. San Diego won the last meeting 28-20 in 2008, which ensured that the Aggies would have their first losing season since 1969. Had UCD won, it would have finished 6-6. The Toreros were a combined 20-3 in 2006 and 2007 but two of those losses came at the hands of the Aggies. … Caragher is in his fourth year as head coach of San Diego. … The Toreros last started 0-2 in 1995, while their last winless three-game start was at 0-2-1 in 1984, when they didnÕt get a win until their eighth game and finished 1-8-1. San DiegoÕs last 0-3 start was 1980, though it bounced back to go 6-5 that year.
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