The UC Davis Aggies returned home after two weeks on the road to play Portland State. After going into halftime tied 14-14 with the Lumberjacks, the Aggies could not hang on as Portland State scored 35 points in the second half. The Lumberjacks ended up winning by a total score of 49-21.
“I thought they were much more physical than we were,” said coach Bob Biggs. “They leaned on us pretty good physically and we just didn’t have an answer. We couldn’t get a stop. Give them credit, but we just didn’t play with the same physical spirited effort that we have been playing with. They took advantage of it and they outplayed us.”
Junior quarterback Randy Wright threw for 264 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wright and senior wide receiver Anthony Soto connected for two touchdowns in the first half, the third multi-touchdown game of Soto’s career.
“Soto is just a great receiver to have,” Wright said. “He runs great routes so you always know where he will be and he has great hands.”
The Aggie running attack was shut down in the first half, as they rushed for only 22 yards. The ground game improved in the second half where the Aggies ran for 82 yards in the half including a 20-yard touchdown run from senior running back Marquis Nicolis that was too little, too late for UC Davis.
“It just wasn’t there. The same high-spirited, flying around that we’re used to seeing all year long,” Biggs said. “I feel like it was the first time all season that the other team brought more energy and just outplayed us. It is disappointing to be honest.”
The team also suffered from mistakes throughout the game. The offense had two penalties that turned UC Davis conversion opportunities into punts. The Aggies also had a kickoff return touchdown negated and called back to the UC Davis side of the field due to a penalty.
“We didn’t run the ball well. Our identity is to play hard, smart, and we have to be able to run the ball. We haven’t been a team with a lot of big plays throughout the season so we are on a razor’s edge when it comes to overcoming small mistakes,” Biggs said.
The Aggie defense had a tough time stopping Portland State’s run game. The Lumberjacks’ running back DJ Adams ran for a total of 139 yards and a touchdown, while the rest of the team ran for 280 yards on the ground.
“I thought Adams ran well and their team did a good job of blocking at the point of attack,” Biggs said. “We just didn’t have people at the point of attack when they were pulling their big guys and they just leaned on us. They were just physical on us moving us around and we just didn’t have any answers.”
“Today all we had to do was play assignment football, but we had some breaks in coverage and just didn’t do our jobs,” said junior safety Aarynn Jones.
Next week the Aggies will have a bye before they head to Eastern Washington for the final game on the road.
“I have mixed feelings about bye weeks but maybe this is coming at a good time. We just didn’t have a good week at practice and now it’s time for the team to do a little soul searching,” Biggs said. “You’ve got to look in the mirror and ask, ‘Could I have done something better?’ then put it past you to learn from it.”
JASON MIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.