The offense was impressive at times, but UC Davis simply allowed too many big plays to stay in the game Saturday.
Colorado State University scored three touchdowns of 45 yards or longer on the way to a 49-21 home-opening win over the Aggies in front of 21,202 fans at Hughes Stadium.
The UC Davis secondary was unable to slow down the Colorado air attack as Garrett Grayson completed 22 of 31 attempts for 425 yards and four touchdowns.
“We’re playing a really good football team, and they had all day to throw the ball. We allowed the quarterback to sit back there and pick those guys apart,” UC Davis coach Ron Gould said. “We’ve got to do a better job getting pressure on the opposing team’s offense and do a better job containing those guys.”
Grayson wasn’t sacked as eight receivers made catches, with six having receptions of 20 yards or more.
Colorado State (2-1) also ran for 224 yards on 33 attempts.
It was the second loss of the season for UC Davis (1-2), both coming against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents after Stanford beat the Aggies 45-0 in the first game of the season.
The bright spot for UC Davis was an offense that was at times able to move the ball with ease against the Mountain West Conference opponent.
Colton Silveria had 97 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries even with starting guard Parker Smith sidelined with a leg injury. Justin Williams had 66 rushing yards for an average of 8.2 per carry as the Aggies had 179 rush yards at an average of 5.4 yards per attempt.
“We talked to those guys about being patient,” Gould said. “We talked about not speed to the hole, but speed through the hole. Those young guys are learning how to stay with the reads and be decisive when they get it.”
UC Davis also welcomed back last season’s leading rusher, Gabe Manzanares, who missed the first two games because of an injury. The senior had six carries for 21 yards and one catch for 10 yards.
Colorado State quickly took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but UC Davis cut it to 14-7 on an 11-yard pass from London Lacy to tight end Mark Martindale for his first touchdown of the year.
The Aggies were moving the ball well at the time but had a couple missed chances on dropped balls and inaccurate passes.
“We left a lot out there, a lot of missed opportunities,” said Lacy, who finished 21 for 34 for 200 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. “You can’t really get that back, but I like how the offense finished the game.”
Colorado State grew the lead to 28-7 at the half. The Rams scored early in the fourth quarter to essentially put away the game.
UC Davis finished strong with Williams scoring on a 16-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Silveria scoring a 9-yard touchdown in the final two minutes.
The Aggies now have two weeks to prepare for their Big Sky Conference opener at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at home against Eastern Washington.
They hope games like the one Saturday against Colorado State and two weeks ago against Stanford will have them prepared to take a step forward in conference play.
“It’s great playing the (Division I) schools. It definitely gets us ready and working a little harder,” Silveria said. “We just need to execute and work on the little things. … We need to be smoother.”