PLAYER OF THE GAME: Max O'Rourke, K, UC Davis — Points were hard to come by in this game, so O'Rourke hitting three of four field goals was absolutely clutch. He hit his first three all in the first half to help the Aggies to a 16-6 halftime lead.
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis – 9 rec., 137 yards
Tehran Thomas, RB, UC Davis – 13 carries, 87 yards
Quincy Bennett, LB, UC Davis – 7 total tackles, 2.5 TFLs
It might not be pointed at as a complete turning point in the game, but its significance can't be denied. UNI had all the momentum in the game, despite trailing 23-13 entering the fourth quarter. On the first play of the final quarter and on a third-and-4 at the UC Davis 13-yard line, UNI quarterback Eli Dunne took a 15-yard sack at the hands of Jordan Franklin. The Panthers settled for a field goal to make the score 23-16, instead of 23-20.
It was a story of field goals for a big part of this game. Made field goals. Missed field goals. A made field goal that maybe was a missed field goal by UNI because it was kicked so high above the uprights.
Anyway, UNI and UC Davis combined for six of those 3-pointers in the game. Max O'Rourke hit 3-of-4 for the Aggies and UNI's Austin Errthum went 3-of-5.
The kicking was key, but so too was UC Davis' ability to play a physical game. The Aggies held a 23-6 lead at one point in the third quarter only to see the Panthers come roaring back.
Give them credit, they did what very few teams can do against this UC Davis offense. Instead of being able to toss the ball all over the yard, the Aggies had to grind out a win by getting tough yards on the ground and getting stops on defense in the fourth quarter to hold off UNI.
This was the first FCS playoff win in UC Davis history. The atmosphere was electric. The unfamiliar environment can get to some teams and players. But not the Aggies, especially in the second half when everything was pointing to UNI making a comeback.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
The Aggies will be reminded of it all week.
"EWU beat UC Davis 59-20 on the red turf just a month ago."
In a Top 5-ranked matchup, UC Davis got beat up on pretty good by the Eagles. But it was only 21-17 at halftime before things unraveled for the Aggies.
This won't be a 39-point ball game again. While UC Davis will be the underdog going into the game, expect an even matchup in a game between two Big Sky Conference powers.
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