The Aggies were desperate for a victory.
Coming off a much-maligned loss to Humboldt State last week, UC Davis was hoping to get back on track as they headed into Great West Conference Play.
The Aggies did just that on Saturday as they dismissed University of Texas, San Antonio 38-17 in front of 8,876 fans at Homecoming 2011.
“After last week everyone was pretty down,” said sophomore quarterback Randy Wright, “but we just came back to work this week … it feels good that it paid off with a win.”
The victory moves UC Davis to 2-4 on the season.
Early on, it looked like the Aggies might be in trouble, as they fell behind in the first quarter, but UC Davis got on the board in the second when Wright found sophomore tight end Taylor Sloat for a touchdown.
The score turned out to be the start of a 38-0 Aggie run that put the game well out of reach for the Roadrunners.
Wright overcame a slow start to throw for career-high 320 yards and three touchdowns. For the second year signal-caller, it was all about making adjustments.
“[The Roadrunners] came out in a different defensive look from what we were expecting,” Wright said. “Once we figured it out we were able to call some plays to capitalize on their alignments.”
Wright’s two favorite targets were junior Anthony Soto and sophomore Tom Hemmingsen, who finished with 86 and 85 receiving yards, respectively, and tallied one touchdown apiece. While Hemmingsen produced excellent numbers for the second week in a row, he was quick to credit his quarterback.
“[Wright] was looking my way and he made some great passes,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to do my job.”
Hemmingson also tacked on nine rushing yards and another 19 on punt returns.
UC Davis was also able to move the ball on the ground against UTSA, something it had struggled to do prior to the game.
The Aggies notched their first 100-yard rushing game of the season, as freshman Colton Silveria led the team with 76 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow freshman Austin Edmonson tallied 56 yards on just 12 carries, helping UC Davis run out the clock as they held the lead late.
“In the [previous] games we’ve gotten behind early, and that makes it tough to run the ball effectively,” said Head Coach Bob Biggs. “Today we were able to keep them off balance when we got the early lead, and that was the difference.”
Defensively, the Aggies held the Roadrunners to just three points over the first three quarters before conceding a pair of touchdowns in the fourth frame.
UC Davis forced two turnovers and denied all three of UTSA’s fourth-down conversion attempts.
Freshman safety Charles Boyett led the Aggies with eight tackles, while junior linebacker Byron Gruendl notched seven. In Gruendl’s mind, the defensive performance was a team effort.
“We came out with a lot more energy than we have in the past,” he said. “This whole team came together this we and did exactly what we needed to get us going.”
The Aggies will now look forward to Great West action, as their next four opponents will all be conference foes, beginning with South Dakota next Saturday.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.