College Sports

C.J. Spencer expected to see time at quarterback for UC Davis

UC Davis quarterback C.J. Spencer is tackled by Sacramento State defenders in 2015. Spencer threw for 312 yards and three TDs in the Aggies’ win.
UC Davis quarterback C.J. Spencer is tackled by Sacramento State defenders in 2015. Spencer threw for 312 yards and three TDs in the Aggies’ win. Sacramento Bee file

C.J. Spencer will miss seeing his former high school, Inderkum, take on top-ranked Sacramento in the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs Saturday afternoon in Oak Park.

The UC Davis quarterback figures to be busy when the Aggies host Sacramento State in the 63rd Causeway Classic, scheduled at the same time Inderkum visits the Dragons.

The sophomore quarterback is expected to see playing time for the Aggies – along with senior Ben Scott – during the Big Sky Conference finale.

Spencer was the unexpected hero of last season’s Causeway Classic.

Pinch-hitting for the injured Scott, Spencer threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another as the Aggies topped the Hornets 35-21 at Hornet Stadium.

Spencer suffered a knee injury in the Aggies’ home opener against Southern Oregon on Sept. 10 and has spent most of this season on the sideline.

He provided some fireworks while subbing for Scott in the fourth quarter of the Aggies’ 51-29 loss to Portland State on Nov. 5 when he threw for a touchdown and ran for another.

“We have a couple of quarterbacks that are really good,” said UC Davis coach Ron Gould. “We think either guy can get the job done for us, so we anticipate playing both quarterbacks.”

Seeing double – Cornerbacks and twins Nicholas and Anthony Payne will cap their long careers at Sac State on Saturday.

Nicholas, a sixth-year senior, has been limited to 28 games because of injuries. He redshirted in 2011, missed 2014 because of injury and started the first three games last year before suffering a knee injury.

Anthony, who joined Sac State in 2012 and redshirted the first year, is in his fifth season and has played in 48 games. He has four career interceptions, including one in the Hornets’ 41-30 Causeway Classic win at Davis in 2014.

Anthony and Nicholas agree that game was their favorite Causeway Classic moment.

“We’ve only gotten one victory since I’ve been here,” Nicholas said. “Going to Davis two years ago and coming out with that win, we rushed the field like it was a huge championship win. It was a great feeling to bring that trophy back home.”

The brothers have been almost inseparable on and off the football field since growing up in San Diego. They’ve played cornerback since high school, a position that their father, Caesar, played at San Diego State for Don Coryell.

Senior appreciation – UC Davis will honor 20 seniors during Saturday’s pregame ceremony, most of whom either started their careers for Bob Biggs or were recruited to play for the Aggies by the former UCD coach.

“It’s special since they are guys from your first class,” Gould said. “It touches my heart in a little different way the guys that were here and did a pretty good job of embracing the culture and what we were trying to build.”

Gould said his only regret is that he had to play Manusamoa Luuga, Zak Pettit, Zach Jones, Chris Martin, Christian Schneider, Inoke Raikadroka and Colby Wadman as true freshmen.

“It would be nice to have those guys one more year,” Gould said.

Sochor statue – A ceremony to unveil a bronze statue of beloved UCD football coach Jim Sochor will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday as part of the Causeway Classic festivities.

Sochor, who died last November at age 77, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame after he turned UCD into an NCAA Division II power that included a school-record 156 wins from 1970 to 1988. He also went 18-1 in games against Sac State.

Dylan Johnson, Sochor’s grandson, will pull the cover off the statue. Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, athletic director Kevin Blue and Biggs, who played quarterback and later was an assistant coach for Sochor, are among the scheduled speakers.

The bronze statue, sculpted by Lisa Reinertson, will be placed outside the stadium's main gate. The Sochor likeness gazes toward Jim Sochor Field, named in his honor when the stadium opened in 2007.

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

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