It was fitting that Jordan Glass made the game-sealing interception in the UC Davis football team’s 34-27 Causeway Classic win over Sacramento State on Saturday night.
After all, in a season in which the Aggies lost four games by eight points or less, it was often Glass who came up with the plays that brought the team heartbreakingly close to winning — like the interception return for a touchdown that got UCD back into the game against FCS powerhouse Montana State or the pick that gave the Aggie offense a chance to score late at then-No. 16 Northern Arizona.
Still, the team went on to lose both of those games — 48-41 to the Bobcats and 21-7 to the Lumberjacks.
So when the senior linebacker cut in front of a receiver running a slant route with less than two minutes to go on Saturday to snatch a hastily thrown ball and finally seal a close win for UCD — head coach Bob Biggs’ last victory on the sidelines — it had to feel pretty good.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Glass, who was named to the All-Big West Conference second team on Tuesday. “It was huge, the last game for our seniors and for Coach Biggs. To go out beating Sac State in the Causeway (Classic), it was huge for us. We sent our coach out the right way, with a win.”
It was also a great way for Glass to cap off a great career.
Glass joined the UCD Aggies after a two-year stint with the Utah State Aggies. As a freshman at Utah State, he played sparingly but earned Academic All-Western Athletic Conference honors. During his sophomore year, Glass amassed 26 tackles in three games before suffering a season-ending injury.
When he opted to transfer to UCD after the season had ended, it was kind of a homecoming for Glass, who grew up in the Sacramento area and was a star at Elk Grove High.
With his parents, John and Annette Glass, watching from the stands at Aggie Stadium, he finished third on the team in tackles in 2010 and won the team’s Jim Ferrier Award for outstanding transfer.
He was even better in 2011, leading the team in tackles and picking off two passes to earn a spot on the All-Great West Conference Second Team. After the season, he was able to obtain a medical redshirt for his sophomore year in Utah, allowing him to return in 2012.
This fall, Glass was absolutely brilliant, amassing a team-high 83 tackles to go with three sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions. He also made two of the most memorable plays of the season, both against the Hornets. In addition to his game-clinching pick, Glass opened the scoring by returning a blocked PAT all the way to the end zone for two Aggie points.
In his final press conference as head coach, Biggs praised Glass heavily.
“Jordan may have been the most valuable player on the football team this year,” he said. “We had been waiting for a big play at the end of the game to allow us to win a close ball game this year. For Jordan to make that — he’s a senior and a tremendous leader for us — I thought was very, very good.”
Added quarterback Randy Wright: “He’s always mentally dialed (in). He doesn’t take much. He never complains.”
Glass, a communications major, is set to graduate in the spring. While his departure undoubtedly will be tough for the team to overcome, he feels like the win over Sacramento State laid a foundation for the younger players:
“The young guys have something to look forward to going into the offseason,” he said. “A big win against Sac State, it’s more motivation for them.”
Eastern Washington, Montana State and Cal Poly will represent the Big Sky Conference in the 2012 Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. All three got tough games from the Aggies.
EWU, which is seeded second in the tournament and finished the regular season with a 9-2 record, needed a last-minute field goal block to escape with a 31-28 win over UCD in Washington.
No. 3 seed Montana State (10-1) beat the Aggies, 48-41 — only after the Aggies came up short on a Hail Mary — and Cal Poly (9-2) had to stop a last-second drive to top UCD, 28-20, in the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe.
South Dakota State (8-3), which beat the Aggies 12-8, also made the FCS tournament field.
With all those close scores, UCD might not be as far from playoff contention as its 4-7 record makes it appear. Judging by how tough they played teams that are in the FCS tournament, the Aggies look to be just a few solid recruiting classes away from joining them in the postseason.
EWU, MSU and Cal Poly all have first-round byes. SDSU will take on Eastern Illinois (7-4) on Saturday.
— Reach Will Bellamy at [email protected]