Homecoming is always special for colleges. There's no better way to get the alumni to reconnect than coming back to campus to watch a football game.
UC Davis has played very well in homecoming games since moving to Aggie Stadium in 2007. It is 4-1 but faces a formidable opponent Saturday evening in Montana State. The Bobcats are undefeated at 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big Sky Conference. The Aggies are 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
"That's the great thing about playing a great team and on homecoming. You don't have to say too much as a coach," said Aggies coach Bob Biggs. "(The team) is well aware of what the rankings are. We don't really talk about those things as a staff, even amongst the team."
UC Davis and Montana State have split their only two meetings, both in Bozeman, Mont. The Aggies won 45-0 in 2006 the last time the Aggies recorded a shutout. UC Davis was ranked No. 21, while the Bobcats were No. 20. Last season, the Bobcats won 38-14 as running back Cody Kirk rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Kirk is back this season but faces a much stiffer Aggies' run defense.
"We've given up some yards in the run game, but it seems like we get stops when we need to get stops," Biggs said this week. "We've been kind of a bend but don't break. If there's an issue at all there is that we've given up some big plays. People being able to just methodically run the ball down our throats, they haven't been able to do that, and that's an improvement from where we were last year."
Offensive coordinator Paul Peterson was the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Southern Utah University last season.
So when the Hornets visit the Thunderbirds on Saturday in Cedar City, Utah, Sac State will have enough inside information to stop Southern Utah's prolific passer Brad Sorenson and his no-huddle offense, right?
Not so fast, Hornets head coach Marshall Sperbeck said.
"It works both ways," Sperbeck said this week. "Southern Utah knows coach Peterson, as well. He knows what Southern Utah is doing, but that kind of goes back and forth there. I think he's approaching it like any other game as far as taking them and watching their film and breaking them down and seeing what we can do.
"It really comes down to both teams taking care of their business and the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will be the team that wins."
Hornets true freshman De'Jon Coleman got his first carry in the first quarter against Idaho State last week and scored on an 18-yard run. A penalty negated another touchdown on his second carry. Coleman set a Los Angeles City Section record with 47 touchdowns as a senior in 2011.
For the second time this season, Edgar Castaneda was selected as the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week. The junior made a career-high four field goals and six extra points in the Hornets' 54-31 win at Idaho State.
Castaneda converted on field goals of 41, 25, 38 and 50 yards. His four field goals tied the school single-game record shared by Chris Diniz and Bret LeVier. Castaneda's 50-yarder in the fourth quarter tied him for the fifth-longest by a Hornet and was his career best at any level.
Only four Hornets have been successful from 50 yards or longer. Scott Brown holds the school record with a 53-yarder against Eastern Washington in 1998.