San Jose State will be starting the season at home on Thursday, August 30th against UC Davis with the kickoff time still to be determined.
About the UC Davis athletic program: The Aggies football team participates at the FCS level, formerly known as Division II. Most sports at UC Davis are in the Big Sky Conference, other schools in this conference include their rivals Sacramento State and Cal Poly, who was the Spartans one FCS level opponent last year. Fun fact; Mike Belloti, the former University of Oregon head coach from 1995-2008 played and started his coaching career at UC Davis.
Coach: Dan Hawkins, 5-6 in his first year
2017 Record: 5-6
2017 Season in Review: Last year UC Davis started off the season with a loss at SDSU, but followed that up with wins against the University of San Diego and Portland State. The Aggies then lost at #18 Weber State but would come home and win against North Dakota. They followed that up by losing 2 in a row. UC Davis played another ranked opponent in #10 Eastern Washington, this time losing by only 3 points 41-38 and then they lost to Northern Arizona. The Aggies then played the other Mustangs, Cal Poly, and won by 3 and the following week beat Idaho State. They finished the season with losses to Southern Utah and Sacramento State.
Key Players Returning in 2018: QB Maier, Jake, RB Namane Modise, RB Thomas Tehran, WR Keelan Doss, TE Wesley Preece, Aaron Moore, LB Nas Anesi, DB Vincent White
2018 Strengths: Having previous win records of 2,2,3, and then a small jump to 5 last year should be looked as an improvement for UC Davis especially with coach Dan Hawkins on the first year of his job. The offense was a success last year as they were best in their conference and averaged 484 yards and 33.6 points per game. Almost everyone who played a big part of the offense returns including the finalist for the FCS Top Offensive Player in the country in Keelan Doss.
He was the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year and was also selected as an FCS All-American. He should put up big numbers again this upcoming season as QB Jake Maier the Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the year also returns for his senior year. The other top two receiving threats also return in WR Aaron Moore and third team All-Conference TE Wesley Preece. The one piece the Aggies lose is their leading rusher from last year, but they do return running back Thomas Tehran who came on late last season. On defense look to LB Nas Anesi to make many tackles as he was second on the team last year.
2018 Weaknesses: The defense struggled mightily last season, giving up 32 points and 459 yards per game. Not to mention they gave up almost 5 yards a carry and 210 rushing yards a game. UC Davis must improve their defense and more specifically the run defense in the upcoming season if they want to continue to improve on their win record. For a hopeful up and coming FCS team, the schedule does not do them any favors this year as along with SJSU they will play another FBS team in Stanford which I think should be looked at as two automatic loses.