Gabe Manzanares ran for 147 yards and scored three times and the UC Davis Aggies won their home finale Saturday evening at Aggie Stadium, beating visiting North Dakota 34-18.
Brady Stuart kicked the second of his four field goals on the first play of the quarter, this one from 29 yards out, to put the Aggies back on top 6-3. On the ensuing kickoff, North Dakota returner Greg Hardin fumbled the ball into the end zone and in the scramble that followed, the ball came out of the end zone for a safety for UC Davis that made it 8-3.
On the free kick, Jonathan Perkins returned the punt 72 yards to the North Dakota 17-yard line and on the first play from scrimmage, Manzanares finished the deal with the first of his touchdowns and just like that, UC Davis led 15-3.
Stuart booted another field goal to put the Aggies up 18-3, but with 30 seconds left in the half, North Dakota (3-8, 2-6 Big Sky) got into the end zone on a three-yard run by Adam Shaugabay. Anthony Kaspar blocked the extra point, however, and the Aggies maintained a two-possession lead at the half at 18-9.
After a scoreless third period, Manzanares scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 15-yard run to make it 24-9. North Dakota got a Zeb Miller field goal—his second 45-yard field goal of the day—to make is 24-12 and Manzanares followed that with his third scoring run.
With 5:07 to go, Joe Mollberg hooked up with Kenny Golladay for a 30-yard touchdown pass, but North Dakota failed on the two-point conversion.
Stuart closed the scoring with a 32-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining.
The game was statistically very close—the Aggies outgained North Dakota by one yard, 429-428, but two North Dakota turnovers made the difference.
Quarterback Ryan Bartels, battling a knee injury, was 17-for-35 for 233 yards for North Dakota before giving way to Mollberg, who went 8-for-14 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
For UC Davis, Randy Wright was 17-for-31 for 248 yards and Tom Hemmingsen led the receiving corps with 66 yards on three catches.
UC Davis closes the season next Saturday in the Causeway Classic at Sacramento State. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. Pacific.