STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Jon Grant stepped into the huddle before
UC Davis' final drive and delivered a message to his teammates that
would have seemed most improbable just a few hours earlier.
"What better stage could we be on. We're at Stanford Stadium.
We're about to go on a game-winning drive," Grant told his
Then he delivered, capping a 72-yard march with a 3-yard
touchdown pass to Blaise Smith with 8 seconds left Saturday night
to stun Stanford 20-17 and spoil coach Walt Harris' home debut for
After UC Davis (1-2) lost its opening two games to New Hampshire
and Portland State, going on the road against a Pac-10 team didn't
seem like the place for a team making the transition from Division
II to Division I-AA to get its first win.
After falling behind 17-0 midway through the second quarter, it
seemed even more unlikely, but the Aggies didn't give in and became
the first non-Division I-A team ever to beat Stanford.
"We're always the underdogs," Grant said. "We're not that
big, we're not that strong, we're not that fast. We just go out and
play football the way it should be played."
Harris, the offensive-minded coach hired to replace Buddy
Teevens after three straight losing seasons, is off to a rough
start at Stanford (1-1).
The Cardinal did not score an offensive touchdown and gained
only 180 yards on the night, struggling after starting quarterback
Trent Edwards went down with an injured right hand in the first
"The bottom line when you lose, you lose," Harris said. "It
doesn't matter if it's Davis or USC. When you play like that, you
will lose every game."
After T.C. Ostrander's last-ditch pass fell incomplete at the 5,
the Aggies celebrated in the end zone while Harris looked stunned
as he walked off the field with his team. The Aggies then ran to
the corner of the stadium to thank the thousands of fans who made
the two-hour trip from Davis for the game.
"When they announced the schedule our fans were really excited
and got together and bought tickets," UC Davis defensive line
coach Fred Arp said. "I've been here 39 years and nothing
The Aggies mounted the winning drive after Emmanuel Benjamin
missed two field goals earlier in the fourth quarter that could
have tied the game at 17. They took over at their 28 with 2:37 to
play. Grant threw a 12-yard pass to Brandon Rice and a 17-yarder to
Smith to get the drive started.
Then on a third-and-4 from the Stanford 25, Grant hit a
wide-open Tony Kays for 19 yards over the middle for a first down.
After a 3-yard keeper and an incomplete pass, Grant found Smith
open in the front corner of the end zone to cap the 11-play drive.
"We always felt confident," Smith said. "I don't know what
they said at halftime, but we just saw that small opening and it
was enough. ... I knew if we got the ball back in our desperation
offense, we could make the plays. It seemed like we always do."
Grant finished 23-for-43 for 251 yards and also ran for 41
yards. Nelson Doris ran for two scores and Kays caught 10 passes
for 115 yards.
Ostrander struggled in place of Edwards, going 7-for-17 for 108
yards and one interception. The Cardinal also lost three fumbles,
including two on muffed punts, and struggled against the undersized
UC Davis front.
"It's hard to pinpoint one thing," Ostrander said.
"Collectively on offense we didn't get the job done. I was
extremely disappointed in how I played."
The Aggies beat a Division I-A team for the first time since
1986 against Pacific. It was the first time in 65 years they had
faced a team that currently is in the Pac-10 and they lost to
Stanford the only previous time they played 59-0 in 1932 when Pop
Warner was Stanford's coach.
Stanford scoring twice on fumble recoveries in and UC Davis'
first two touchdowns coming after Cardinal fumbles.
With Stanford leading 3-0, Ostrander drove his team down the
field on his first drive before being intercepted at the 1 by Adam
Cook. But on the next play, Kevin Schimmelmann sacked Grant in the
end zone, knocked the ball loose and fell on it to make it 10-0
late in the first quarter.
Stanford's second defensive score came midway through the second
quarter when Babatunde Oshinowo stripped Doris and Michael Craven
scooped the ball up and ran it back 54 yards to make it 17-0.
UC Davis had to punt on its next drive and David Marrero tried
to field it inside his 5, muffed a fair catch attempt and Cook
recovered at the 3. Doris ran it in on the next play to make it
The Aggies struck quickly in the second half after Luis Amaral
ripped the ball away from Anthony Kimble and recovered at the
Stanford 41. That set up a 1-yard score by Doris that made it