By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
Coming off a 31-17 loss Central Arkansas, the football team travels to Division II powerhouse California-Davis this weekend.
The No. 5 ranked Aggies were ranked No. 2 in last week’s D2ootball.com Top 25 Poll, but lost 24-17 in their season opener to No. 1 Grand Valley State Saturday.
“In my opinion, the better team lost that game,” said ACU coach Gary Gaines of UC-Davis. “They’re a perennial D-II power and they have been for years and years.”
Last year, the Aggies came up with a 41-28 victory over ACU at Shotwell Stadium.
“Last year we played a pretty good game against them,” said junior quarterback Colby Freeman. “There was a little intimidation last year and we weren’t sure of ourselves, but we still feel like we could’ve beaten them.”
UC-Davis prides itself in being a pass-oriented offense. Last season Davis amassed 282 passing yards and three touchdowns in its meeting with ACU, and last week gained another 225 yards in the air.
“They like to chunk the ball,” Freeman said of the Aggies. “Their offense is definitely scary, but we know they’re going to make big plays and we just need to adjust. Our offense is just as capable of doing the same thing to them.”
Contrary to UC-Davis’ run-and-gun approach, ACU primarily concentrates on its running game. Junior Eric Polk, a 1,000 yard rusher last season, ran for 129 yards last week and sophomore Sneezy Beltran picked up his first collegiate touchdown.
Freeman, who went down in the Central Arkansas game with a sprained knee, started practicing on Tuesday and is expected to suit up at UC-Davis on Saturday.
“His knee’s still a little sensitive, but I expect him to play for us,” Gaines said.
Gaines said he wasn’t worried about his team’s attitude. After falling behind 28-7 to UCA last week, they still stayed positive, he said.
“When we were down at the half, our guys showed what kind of leadership they needed to have, and we had a great second half,” he said. “The attitudes have been great.”
But ACU will play intense in both halves against Davis, said Freeman.
“From a mental standpoint, we’re a lot more ready for them than last year,” Freeman said. “We think we can legitimately knock these guys off.”