In the aftermath of one of the Aggies’ worst losses in recent memory, Marcus Nolan and the Aggies showed their resiliency in the biggest home game of the season.
After a disheartening defeat two weeks ago, at the hands of the 5th-ranked North Dakota State Bison, the UC Davis Aggies played for pride, and bounced back with a big win over the Sacramento State Hornets, 30-16. In the 53rd Annual Causeway Classic – the last one held on Toomey Field – the Aggies (5-5) made brilliant plays in the running game, and made key stops on defense to win their seventh straight game against the Hornets (4-7).
Nolan made big running plays down the stretch, including a key 24-yard touchdown run with 2:24 left to play to seal the game. He finished the day with 24 carries for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Jon Grant had a subpar day, throwing for 196 yards and two interceptions, but threw a critical 17-yard touchdown strike to Brad Bispo that put the Aggies ahead for good.
The Aggie defense struggled in the first quarter, allowing Sacramento State QB Marcel Marquez to score on a 1-yard TD run for an early 7-0 Hornet lead. They held their ground for the rest of the game, bending but not breaking to the tune of two vital goal-line stands and three Juan Gamboa field goals. Marquez was also forced into three interceptions for the game, all of them by Free safety Jonathan Barsi, one of them returned for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter to tie the game at 13-13.
Overshadowed were the big Wide Receiver play by the Aggies, as well as a record-setting performance. Chris Carter had a game-high 10 receptions for 75 yards. But, all Aggie eyes were on senior Wide Reciever Tony Kays, who set a record for career receptions for an Aggie (197) with three catches on the day for 53 yards.
It was an ugly game, with five total turnovers, 51 total penalty yards and some sloppy play by both teams, but it was the steady running game of Nolan and key defensive stops that gave the Aggies their seventh straight Causeway Classic. With the final cheer of ‘Aggie Pride’, by players and Aggie Pack members alike, UC Davis walked away with a piece of the Causeway, victorious once again.