Wednesday, March 4, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD’s up-and-down football season ends on a high note

UCD's Colton Silveria dives into the end zone for a two-point conversion in Saturday's 34-27 Causeway Classic win. Silveria helped the Aggies have one of their best rushing seasons in recent memory. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

By
From page B1 | November 25, 2012 |

There were hellos and goodbyes, disappointments and celebrations.

The 2012 UC Davis football season had a little bit of everything.

In their first year as a member of the Big Sky Conference and their final with coach Bob Biggs at the helm, the Aggies went 4-7, but pushed several quality opponents to the brink and knocked longtime rival Sacramento State out of the playoffs in the season finale to give Biggs and their seniors one last hurrah at Aggie Stadium.

The 34-27 Causeway Classic win Nov. 17 was sealed on a last-minute interception by senior linebacker Jordan Glass, who was named to the All-Big Sky Conference second team on Tuesday and who was the team’s most valuable player in 2012.

That type of closing play was something UCD needed in games throughout the season, but never got until the Causeway Classic. The Aggies had late leads on Big Sky powerhouses Eastern Washington, which entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the Football Championship Subdivision tournament, and third-seeded Montana State, but couldn’t hold on in either game. They fell 31-28 at EWU after the Eagles blocked a last-second field goal attempt and 48-41 to MSU after quarterback Randy Wright’s final heave to the end zone was batted down.

Wright had an up-and-down year, completing 57.2 percent of his passes for 2,410 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but threw for a combined 531 yards in the two games against the Eagles and Bobcats. He also added a touchdown pass in close losses to Cal Poly and helped the locals play tight with South Dakota State. Both of those squads joined Eastern Washington and Montana State in the FCS playoffs.

In all, UCD lost four games by eight points or less. But, more than anything, Biggs said he will remember this team for its refusal to quit.

“This team will always be special to me,” he said after the Causeway Classic. “(It’s) just the way they keep fighting and they’ve been so resilient and how they really care about each other. And sometimes that seems overstated, but I think it’s really true in this case.”

In fact, with the exception of a 45-13 loss to Football Bowl Subdivision opponent San Jose State — which nearly knocked off nationally ranked No. 8 Stanford before taking on UCD — and a 49-21 defeat at the hands of Portland State, the Aggies played every winning opponent close. UCD had a chance in the fourth quarter to stage a comeback at Northern Arizona, which, at the time, was ranked 15th in the FCS.

With his team trailing 21-7 in that contest, Glass intercepted a pass by Wildcat quarterback Cory Grossart, allowing Wright and Company to set up shop deep in NAU territory with seven minutes to go. The Aggies managed to move the ball down inside the 10-yard line, but running back Courtney Williams was stopped on fourth-and-2 from the five and the Wildcats were able to keep the game from getting closer.

UCD also added several blowouts of its own, beating Azusa Pacific 41-3 in its home opener and Weber State 37-13, also at Aggie Stadium. Against WSU, Wright threw for a touchdown and fullback Dalton Turay scored three times — all in one quarter. Turay, a sophomore, earned the trust of the UCD coaching staff in short yardage situations with his locomotive-like running style and became more of a factor as the season progressed. He ended up rushing for seven touchdowns overall and added another on a pass from Wright.

Turay was an integral part of a running attack that also featured Williams, a redshirt freshman and Davis High graduate, Marquis Nicolis and Colton Silveria. The quartet combined to rush for 1,621 yards on 310 carries — a 5.2 average — and score 18 of the team’s 32 offensive touchdowns. They were particularly effective against Idaho State, churning out 300 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a unit. That game, a 52-49 win by the Aggies, was, in a way, a testament to the unpredictable nature of the team.

In some games, it was the offense lighting up the scoreboard. In others, it was the defense and special teams. Against the Hornets, the defense and special teams combined to force four turnovers and score two touchdowns, both of which proved to be critical as the Aggie offense made it into the end zone only once.

The play of punter Colton Schmidt was really the only constant. In the final year of his UCD career, Schmidt was as prolific as ever, averaging 44.5 yards per punt to break the record he set as a junior, and racking up 41 touchbacks on kickoffs and punts combined.

On Tuesday, he and offensive lineman Sean Davies were named to the All-Big Sky Conference first team.

Turay, tight end Taylor Sloat — who caught the go-ahead touchdown pass from Wright in the Causeway Classic — cornerback Jonathan Perkins, linebacker Bryan Gruendl, defensive tackle Andrew Benjamin, center Ray Wilburn and wide receiver Corey Galindo all earned honorable mention honors.

UCD has to feel pretty good about the individual awards and the 3-5 record in the Big Sky, considering it was its first season in a conference that supplied four of the 20 FCS playoff teams.

And, with players like Williams, Turay, Wright, Galindo, Perkins, defensive end Nick King, who led the team with 6.5 sacks, and safety Aarynn Jones, who was third on the Aggies in tackles and added an interception, set to return, UCD should be poised to top its opening act in 2013.

Provided, of course, the school finds a suitable replacement for Biggs, who capped off 20 years as head coach of the Aggies and nearly 40 years in the football program with the win over the Hornets.

“I was just so focused on trying to help this team win. That’s all I was thinking about, really, and now that it’s over with and we’ve won, I feel very calm inside,” Biggs said after the game. “I think it’s because I’ve been so fortunate.”

But replacing Biggs, who got his 144th victory in the Causeway Classic — second only to Jim Sochor in Aggie history — and his relaxed sideline demeanor will be easier said than done.

— Reach Will Bellamy at [email protected]

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davisite competing for breast cancer ‘Survivor of the Year’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Cool musicians, hot jazz at Coconut Grove fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Guilty verdict in child abduction case

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    UC will freeze resident admissions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Aggies still have all to play for

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    State’s snow levels reach historic lows

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Talk breast cancer with oncologic surgeon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    DPNS offers open house Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Public input sought Monday on Northstar Pond

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Veggie gardening, composting are workshop topics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Visiting prof will discuss Armenian genocide

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Holmes plans open house Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Nominees sought for Bill Streng Business Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Museum brick sales to end this month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Prostate cancer group looks at massage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Moore featured at two climate talks this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Closing education gap will lift economy, a study finds

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Applications due for Rotary’s leadership camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Project Linus meets March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Breakfast with the Bunny tickets on sale now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Snowbird sings the song he always sings

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Thanks for pet drive support

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Story was an ad for NRA

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Athletes just want time to do their homework

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Let’s not delete Giovanni Barovetto from Davis history

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Low-flow toilets in our parks?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    It was music to our ears

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS girls lacrosse coach likes her 2015 squad

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Hawkins enters the home stretch of brilliant UCD career

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devils girls stay undefeated ahead of league opener

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    After a shaky start, DHS stands up to No. 4 St. Mary’s, but loses

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Blue Devils drop softball opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Cousins returns to lift Kings in New York

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    San Jose crushes Canucks behind Nieto

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Features

    Ringing in the Year of the Sheep with dim sum

    By Ann Evans | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    French-Algerian guitarist weaves acoustic spells at The Palms on Friday March 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    California Honeydrops drop in for ‘Down Home’ tour

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Merna Petersen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6