Here is the UC Davis Aggies football team for 2013, at a glance. Their 2012 record: 4-7 overall, 3-5 in the Big Sky Conference.
Balancing act: "Establish the run" for years has been a hollow mantra for the Aggies, who, when the going gets tough, revert to their pass-oriented ways. First-year coach Ron Gould insists his team will be balanced and has a resume to back it. He coached a slew of impact running backs at Cal during his 16 seasons in Berkeley. So keep an eye on freshmen Manu Luuga and Justin Williams, junior Gabe Manzanares and sophomore Kenny Brookins.
Second-half intensity: In six of their seven losses last season, the Aggies were outscored 117-33 in the final two quarters. Gould has emphasized intensity and tempo during spring and fall drills in a bid to counteract UC Davis' penchant for second-half meltdowns. "Most of the time, you're out of breath," senior defensive end Nick King said. "Our conditioning has raised the bar."
Impact defense: The Aggies need a big-play mentality from a unit that allowed 29.3 points per game, seventh among 13 Big Sky Conference teams. Offenses also moved the ball against the Aggies last season, averaging 406.0 total yards.
Causeway Classic at Sacramento State, Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. It will be the 60th annual meeting, and the Aggies hope to continue their dominance of this spirited rivalry. UC Davis has won three in a row and and 11 of the past 13 games in the series. With both teams now in the Big Sky, the season finale could have playoff implications, too.
Cal Poly, Nov. 2, 4 p.m.: The longtime rivals first met in 1939 and began playing for the Golden Horseshoe in 2004. UC Davis is 5-4 in Golden Horseshoe games.
Montana, Oct. 12, 4 p.m.: The Aggies' homecoming game comes against a Grizzlies program that, as a charter member of the Big Sky in 1963, has won 18 titles, tops in the conference.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ryan Dimino, linebacker, 6 feet, 220 pounds, junior: The former Sacramento Bee Player of the Year and Del Campo standout could have a breakout year after battling injuries his first two seasons. "His football IQ is second to none, exceptional in fact, and he's as tough a kid as there is," Gould said.
Corey Galindo, wide receiver, 6-4, 205, junior: He earned all-conference honorable mention in leading the Aggies with 33 catches for 603 yards last year.
Nick King, defensive end, 6-3, 245, senior: He will anchor a tenacious, well-conditioned defensive line after topping the Aggies with 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for losses last season. He also forced two fumbles.
Jimmy Kunkel, offensive line, 6-3, 305, senior: The two-year starter at guard leads a line that includes returning starters Ian Joseph (El Dorado High School) and Parker Smith.
Jonathan Perkins, cornerback, 5-11, 185, senior: He has started 32 of 33 games in his Aggies career and has 103 tackles. He was named all-conference honorable mention last season.
GOING TO THE GAMES
Tickets: Season tickets range from $65 to $125. For season tickets, call (530) 752-1047, and for individual game tickets, call (530) 754-AGS1.
Parking: $7 at lots near the stadium. Game-day tailgating at Lot 30 is $15.