UC Davis quarterback Jon Grant scored from the one yard-line to snap a 13-13 tie with 4:23 remaining as the Aggies held on to beat No. 10 Cal Poly 20-13 in a Great West Football Conference game Saturday afternoon at Toomey Field.
The scoring play capped an 82-yard, eight-play drive, highlighted by a 58-yard pass from Grant to junior wide receiver Tony Kays, giving UC Davis the ball at Cal Poly’s three-yard line.
Cal Poly had tied “The Horseshoe Classic” at 13-13 when senior free safety Kenny Chicoine returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown with 14:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Chicoine’s first interception of the season. He was among the nation’s leaders with seven a year ago.
Senior wide receiver Blaise Smith caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Grant late in the second quarter to give UC Davis a 10-6 lead.
Emmanuel Benjamin added a 35-yard field goal five minutes into the third quarter to give the Aggies a 13-6 cushion.
With the win, UC Davis improved to 5-3 for the season and 3-1 in the Great West. Cal Poly, 5-1 two weeks ago and ranked third in the nation, has now suffered its second straight loss falling to 5-3 on the year. The defending Great West champion Mustangs are 3-1 in conference games.
UC Davis became the first team in the last six games of the series to win at home and the Aggies are now 16-13-2 in the series with Cal Poly.
A year ago at Mustang Stadium, Kays caught a 14-yarder from Grant with 13 seconds to play, lifting UC Davis to a 36-33 win over Cal Poly.
Without the services of senior quarterback Anthony Garnett, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s 36-27 loss at Montana, Cal Poly turned to redshirt freshman Matt Brennan to run the offense.
In his first collegiate start, Brennan completed eight of 18 passes for 58 yards and directed a pair of short drives which led to Mustang field goals in the first half.
Nick Coromelas kicked 38 and 36-yarders to give Cal Poly a 6-3 lead.
The Mustangs also were without the services of redshirt freshman runningback James Noble due to an ankle injury, also suffered in the Montana game. Junior Jeremy Konaris replaced Noble and finished with 20 yards on five carries.
Brennan added 10 yards on 21 trips while fullback Adam George gained 13 yards on four carries.
Senior Jonah Russell was Cal Poly’s top receiver with four catches for 29 yards.
Grant finished 21 of 44 for 307 yards and accounted for both Aggie touchdowns. Kays, the top receiver in the Great West all season, finished with 13 catches for 212 yards, giving him 71 catches for 930 yards this season.
Smith, a St. Joseph (Santa Maria) High School graduate, added five catches for 78 yards.
Junior Alex Garfio led the Aggie ground game with 23 yards on 11 carries.
Defensive leaders for Cal Poly were junior linebacker Kyle Shotwell with 10 tackles (three solo) and linebacker Mark Cordes and defensive end Chris Gocong, each with seven tackles.
Junior nose tackle Chris White added six tackles, including two sacks.
For UC Davis, free safety Jonathan Barai notched eight tackles.
The Aggies recorded six sacks. Cal Poly’s offensive line had given up just four sacks all season prior to Saturday’s game.
UC Davis compiled a 346-113 advantage in total offense, 17-6 in first downs and a five-minute bulge in time of possession.
Cal Poly garnered just 12 yards of offense in the second half.
The two teams combined for 18 punts. Mustang punter Tim Chicoine averaged 48.5 yards on his eight kicks.
Cal Poly has played four of its last five games on the road and will play its final three games of the regular season in Mustang Stadium, beginning with Eastern Washington for homecoming on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m.