New Uniforms, Old Habits

| August 31, 2012

With Stealth Black helmets strapped and fresh black Nike pants, the Cougars took the field for the first time of the monumental 2012 season in Davis, California against the Aggies of UC Davis earlier tonight. UC Davis being only the fourth FCS Division One program to face the Cougars, Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz was looking to end the 0-3 loosing streak to FCS Programs. The outcome was less than satisfactory, as the old habit of penalty after penalty cost the Cougars countless yards and opportunities, resulting in a 41-3 loss to UC Davis.

The Aggies won the coin toss and elected to flex their offensive muscles early on, receiving the opening kickoff and driving the ball 78 yards, facing only two third down situations. The Cougar defense seemed to be daring the Aggies to run, with as much as 8 players at the line of scrimmage, sending the Aggies into the air. Penalties struck early, as a pass interference flag was thrown against Silas Goma on a crucial third down, giving the Aggies a second chance at the end zone, resulting in an early touchdown.

The Cougar offense looked to answer back, but a false start on the offensive line and stingy defense from the Aggies left the Cougs three and out, facing a fourth and twelve punt. Sean Barber took on the punting responsibilities tonight, and saw the field much more than he or Santa Cruz would ever like to see.

The Cougar defense did step up and force the Aggies to punt, but again penalties resulted in the offense taking its first snap of the drive with Quarter Back Nick Owens standing in the end zone. Nick Owens earned the starting spot tonight over Tyler Tuiasosopo and Justin McPherson. With the graduation of four year starter John van den Raadt, the QB position was something of a grey area until earlier this week, when junior transfer Owens was given the starting responsibility. He stepped out confident, but after penalties and constant pressure from the Aggie’s defensive line and line backers, the Cougars were left three and out in two consecutive drives.

A common theme to the game was field position. The Aggies special teams played a huge role tonight, not allowing the Cougars to have favorable positions, and fighting for every yard giving their offense a short field every opportunity they had. The Cougar defensive forced an Aggie field goal, and the score sat at 10-0 as the second quarter started. Again, the Cougars stalled, and the next play, the Aggies hailed it down field and now sat comfortably at 17-0.

The bright side for the Cougars was Sophomore Terrell Watson. Watson never gave up, and often it took more than one Aggie defender to bring the 6’2”, 235lbs workhorse down. Last year as a true freshmen, Watson ran for almost 700 yards, had 15 TD’s, and was third on the team in sacks with 4.5. A true utility player, Watson took to the NCAA stage tonight as the starting running back, rushing for over 100 yards against a defense that did not allow much other offense to happen. Although he was kept out of the end zone, Terrell did threaten the Aggies on multiple occasion, but could not punch one through for six.

After heading into the locker room down 27-3 after two more Aggie touchdowns, one happening 52 seconds before the half, the Aggies came back out and played another terrific half, shutting down the Cougar offense. In the third, the Cougars did get a spark of momentum, when Strong Safety Tyler Thornton intercepted Aggie QB Randy Wright. Unable to convert, the Cougars gave the ball up after a bad screen attempt, that lead to a fake punt attempt, resulting in nothing other than a turnover on downs.

In the fourth, Tyler Tuiasosopo took over the QB responsibilities, completed a few passes, but did throw an interception, which put the nail in the coffin for any chance of a Cougar comeback. The Cougars look to refocus after a tough loss, as penalties choked any momentum they could have had, as well as small details that did not come together. The Cougars face an opponent next week in Humboldt State, again on the road, who will not give them any less of a fight than the team they faced tonight. The Cougars will then return home on September 15, where they will face Dixie State, which will be broadcasted live here at KAPU Radio.

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About the Author ()

John Castorina has been designing and programming websites for over five years. He is an expert with Photoshop, CSS3 and HTML 5 and is fast becoming a WordPress and PHP guru. John holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts.

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