UC Davis Today
Football ‘a heavyweight fight every week’
By Mike Robles
When Ron Gould took over as head coach of the UC Davis football team in 2012, his Aggies quickly adopted a mantra they would hear every day at practice and at team meetings, and would wear on blue wristbands wherever they went.
“Focus on the process.”
After a 2013 season that started with four straight losses but ended with five wins in their last eight games, the Aggies look to take the next step in that process when they start the 2014 season on Saturday at Stanford, site of the Davis program’s biggest-ever win in 2005.
The game kicks off an 11-game season that is regarded as the toughest in school history. Besides the 11th-ranked Cardinal — one of the top collegiate programs over the last five years — the schedule also includes a game at Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference and four matchups with teams currently ranked among the top 20 in the Football Championship Subdivision.
"We have a very challenging task ahead of us but it's one that we embrace," said Gould. "We're looking forward to competing against great teams each week. The Big Sky is a championship conference. It's a heavyweight fight every week.”
When the schedule was announced last winter, Gould said, "This is an exciting schedule for our fans as well as our team. We're looking forward to filling Aggie Stadium and making it a very difficult place for our opponents to play.”
Five games fill the home schedule this fall. Fort Lewis (Colorado) will visit in the opener on Sept. 6, while Eastern Washington, currently the top-ranked FCS team in the country, comes on Sept. 27. Big Sky powerhouse Montana State is the Homecoming opponent on Oct. 11, while Northern Colorado visits on Nov. 1.
The home season wraps up in dramatic fashion on Nov. 22 with the 61st annual Causeway Classic against rival Sacramento State. UC Davis has won the last four meetings between the teams and looks to extend its overall domination against its regional neighbor.
The Aggies are filled with optimism with the return of several outstanding players including running back Gabe Manzanares, who rushed for 1,285 yards last season and was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year. Senior safety Charles Boyett, who had a team-high 86 tackles in 2013, is back to help lead the defense.
Overall, 18 starters are back, ready to help UC Davis continue building the foundation of excellence that Gould aspires to achieve.
Students are urged to join the Aggie Pack and come cheer on their team.
Season tickets are available by contacting the UC Davis Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting our athletics website.
Mike Robles is assistant athletics director for UC Davis Athletics Communications and covers Aggie football among other sports.
Linebacker Steven Pitts, a key Aggie defense player, stops a Northern Arizona running back last season. Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise photo