DAVIS, Calif. --- Senior Jason Barnes caught six passes for a career-high 173 yards but it was not enough as UC Davis defeated Sacramento State, 30-16, in the 53rd Causeway Classic, Saturday afternoon at Toomey Field.
The Hornets ended their season with a 4-7 overall record. The Aggies improved to 5-5 overall with one game to play.
Sacramento State dominated play in the first half. The Hornets took the opening kickoff and marched to the UC Davis 9-yard line. During the drive, Marcel Marquez completed three passes, including a 46-yard strike to Barnes to place the ball inside the 10. However, on the ensuing play, Marquez forced a pass in the middle of the field which was intercepted by Jonathan Barsi at the 1-yard line.
The Hornet defense stopped the Aggies and the offense took over at their own 24-yard line. Marquez, once again, led the group with a methodical 15-play drive which chewed up 5:55 off the clock. The drive was capped by Marquez’s 1-yard plunge over the left side of the line to give the team a 7-0 lead.
UC Davis answered right back with its own touchdown drive. Barsi returned the kickoff 72 yards to place the ball at the Hornet 26. Jon Grant hit Chris Carter for a 14-yard strike on 3rd-and-10 to keep the ball moving and Marcus Nolan followed with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Aggies, however, missed the extra point to the right making the score, 7-6, early in the second quarter.
Sacramento State added to its lead with a five-play, 67-yard which ended with a 22-yard field goal from Gamboa. The drive opened with a 68-yard pass to Barnes which brought the ball to the 4-yard line but the Aggie defense made three stops on the following plays.
Following a pair of punts, Grant was intercepted by Mike Brannon at the 18-yard line. Brannon brought the ball back to the 9-yard line, marking the team’s fourth trip inside the 10. The Hornets were able to advance the ball four yards and a third down pass fell short in the end zone, forcing the team to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Juan Gamboa.
Another stop by the Sacramento State defense gave the Hornets the ball at their own 6-yard line with just over two minutes to play. The team appeared to be running out the clock until Marquez threw a deep ball down the field that was intercepted by Barsi. The senior returned it 44 yards down the left side of the field for the score to tie the game going into halftime.
The third quarter saw UC Davis take its first lead of the game. The team began the half by driving down the field but Jody Johnson intercepted Grant at the 1-yard line and returned the ball to the 27. Marquez, however, returned the favor as Barsi collected his third pick of the game two plays later.
The Aggies made the most of its opportunity, eventually taking a 16-13 lead on a 20-yard field goal from Emmanuel Benjamin. Sacramento State tied the score on the following drive. Marquez began the series with a 26-yard completion to Barnes. He later rushed for a 14-yard gain and then connected with Philip Perry for a 14-yard completion. The drive moved inside the 10 for the fifth time in the game but the team could only get tot he 4-yard line and took a 21-yard field goal from Gamboa.
UC Davis put the game out of reach with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Grant found tight end Brad Bispo on a 17-yard pass early in the fourth quarter and Nolan sealed the game with a 24-yard scamper with 2:17 remaining.
The two teams produced nearly identical stats. Sacramento State amassed 300 yards of offense while UC Davis had 293. The Aggies outrushed the Hornets (95-73) while Sacramento had more passing yards (227-196).
Marquez was 13-of-30 for 227 yards but was intercepted three times. Barnes’ 173-yards ranks 10th in school history and gives him three 100-yard games this season. Phillip Perry and Tyler Fannuchi were the only other Hornets with more than one catch as the pair each had two.
Grant was 21-of-36 for 196 yards and two interceptions. Carter caught a game-high 10 passes for 75 yards. Senior Tony Kays added three catches for 53 yards and became the school’s all-time leader in receptions.
Tyson Butler led the team with eight stops while Brent Webber added seven for Sacramento State. Mike Morales led UC Davis with eight tackles.