The rivalry between UC Davis and Cal Poly goes beyond football, and even beyond sports.
The two similar schools, one in Southern California and the other in NorCal, are often competitors for the same students, and almost always recruit the same athletes.
Through years of competing in this way, the rivalry between the two football squads has grown into one of mutual respect. These teams don’t hate each other — but one thing both sides do hate is to lose to the other.
Luckily for the UCD players, not one of them has had to experience that, as the Aggies have won the last three Battles for the Golden Horseshoe. The seniors hope to finish their careers without knowing what it feels like to lose to the Mustangs as well as send head coach Bob Biggs, who will retire at the end of the season, out with one more victory over the rival.
“I want to win for the coach, just as much as I want to win because of the rivalry; the possibility of winning four times in a row,” UCD senior center Ray Wilburn told The Enterprise. “I’ve never lost to Cal Poly in my career; that’s a big deal for me.”
The three consecutive wins have pushed Biggs’ career record to 11-8 against Cal Poly. However, standing in the way of Biggs getting his 12th victory on Saturday is a formidable Mustang squad that is 2-0 after upsetting Football Bowl Subdivision Wyoming last week.
Cal Poly is just outside the top 25 in both major Football Championship Subdivision polls — unofficially No. 26 in The Sports Network’s rankings and No. 27 in the coaches’ poll — but USA Today rankings guru Jeff Sagarin has the Mustangs listed as the seventh-best FCS team this week, and 98th among all 246 Division I teams.
Running back Deonte Williams — who local fans will remember from a 2007 prep playoff game where he posted 228 total yards and a touchdown to lead Pleasant Grove past Davis High — paces a Cal Poly rushing attack that is ranked fifth in the FCS after two games.
Quarterback Andre Broadous can throw the ball well enough to keep the defense honest, but is also another threat to pick up yardage on the ground. He shined in the Mustangs’ season-opening win over San Diego, rushing for 113 yards and two scores, while completing 12-of-19 passes for 135 yards and two more TDs.
But the Aggies (1-2), who gave up just 12 points last week against South Dakota State, will face their biggest challenge when they try to put up points. Coming off of a day when it was held scoreless by the Jackrabbits, UCD’s offense will try to solve a Cal Poly defense that is ranked ninth in the country in total defense (250 yards per game).
Aggie coaches are counting on the rivalry to provide just enough motivation to jump-start the UCD offense.
“Because it’s a rivalry game — especially Cal Poly — it’s easier to get refocused,” said co-offensive coordinator Kevin Daft, who quarterbacked the Aggies to two wins over the Mustangs. “It’s a rivalry game and everyone understands what’s at stake. I think they are going to do a great job on Saturday.”
Game time is 6:05 p.m. at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and the contest can be heard on KHTK, 1140 AM.
— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or (530) 747-8049.