Southern Oregon is renowned for its big-play offense, a big reason it has reached the NAIA football championship game the last two years.
But it was UC Davis that produced more of the most explosive plays in its home opener Saturday night against the Raiders.
Manusamoa Luuga had a 90-yard touchdown run, tied for the second longest in school history, Ramon Vargas caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Ben Scott and the Aggie defense produced five turnovers in rolling to a 52-35 win in front of an announced crowd of 5,433 at Aggie Stadium.
Southern Oregon quarterback Tanner Trosin and wide receiver Zack Davis did their part, too. Trosin, the former Folsom High School standout, threw 93- and 67-yard touchdown passes to Davis, the former Roseville High standout.
But it was a big night all around for a UCD program looking to put back-to-back 2-9 seasons in the rear-view mirror.
“This team is for real. I think people are going to have to start respecting us,” Scott said.
Scott completed 22 of 29 passes for a career-high 381 yards and career-matching four touchdowns, and Vargas had six catches for 208 yards, the first Aggie since 2001 to go for more than 200 yards.
“You can see how many different weapons we have,” Scott said.
Luuga finished with 145 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns, giving him five touchdowns in two games. He scored three touchdowns in the Aggies’ season-opening 53-28 loss to No. 24 Oregon last week.
Luuga’s 90-yard burst was 4 yards short of the record set by Jim Wilson in 1952 against Southern Oregon, the last time the two teams had played.
In all, UCD had 617 total yards. Southern Oregon went for 653.
Darryl Graham, Ryan Parenteau, Anthony Baumgart and Mitch Casas had interceptions and defensive lineman Zak Pettit added a fumble recovery.
Trosin, the first California high school quarterback to pass for more than 5,000 yards in a season, was 25 of 51 for 428 yards and rushed for 42 yards, but also committed all five Southern Oregon turnovers.
The Raiders and Aggies set the tone in the first quarter as they combined for 35 points and 404 total yards.
Scott threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nehemiah Winston; Luuga had his 90-yard touchdown burst; and Joshua Kelley added a 7-yard touchdown run that capped a 72-yard drive. Trosin threw a 67-yard touchdown to Davis, and former running back Sean Tow, who played at Union Mine, scored on a 13-yard run.
Rey Vega’s 48-yard touchdown burst for the Raiders knotted the game at 21-21 with 9:13 to play, before the Aggies took a 35-21 halftime lead on Scott’s 25-yard scoring strike to Keelan Doss and Luuga’s 13-yard touchdown run.
The two teams had 662 combined yards at the half.
“We throw the deep ball really, really well,” Scott said. “It’s a credit to the O-line. I don’t think I got sacked tonight (he didn’t). Those guys up front are really taking care of business.”
Defensive lineman Anthony Baumgart said: “During the offseason we prided ourselves on giving the offense more opportunities to score and that’s through turnovers. We worked on it all during camp and its showing up in the games.”
Southern Oregon opened the third quarter by driving 69 yards to the UCD 2-yard line, before the Aggies held. Marcus Montano missed the 23-yard field-goal attempt.
On the second play from scrimmage, Vargas got open behind the Southern Oregon defense and Scott laid a perfect ball to him at the 15-yard line and he ran it in the rest of the way for a 42-21 lead with 8:31 to go in the third quarter. Freshman Matt Blair added a 28-yard field goal less than three minutes later to go up 45-21.
Trosin kept Southern Oregon (0-2) in the game with a 90-yard, 13-play drive capped by his 16-yard touchdown pass to Matt Retzlaff with 11:47 to play. But less than a minute later the Aggies were back up 24 points when Scott threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Hicks. The score was set up by Scott’s 64-yard pass to Vargas.
Trosin and Davis connected on the 93-yard touchdown with 5:07 to play.
The Aggies were Southern Oregon’s first Football Championship Subdivision opponent since the Raiders lost 63-56 in overtime at Sacramento State in 2013.
The Aggies have forced seven turnovers in two games. They had 11 all of last year.
UCD (1-1) next plays Wyoming on Saturday.