St. George • If you think the U.S. government has been ineffective lately, you should have seen Southern Utah on Saturday at Eccles Coliseum.
The Thunderbirds were pushed around physically and badly beaten by UC Davis, 21-3, squandering a chance to confirm their status as a legitimate contender in the Big Sky Conference.
The Aggies dominated from the start despite entering the game as one of the worst statistical teams in the Big Sky.
UC Davis averaged 12.8 points last in the conference over its previous five games. The Aggies also averaged 304 yards of total offense 12th in the league. They had scored more than 10 points just once against Idaho State.
But UC Davis played efficiently on this sun-splashed afternoon, and Southern Utah did not.
The Thunderbirds had one chip-shot field goal blocked, missed another, turned over the ball twice, went 3 for 11 on third down and were manhandled at the line of scrimmage. They failed to score a touchdown at home for the first time since 2001.
"In every phase of the game we were outclassed," Southern Utah coach Ed Lamb said. "We were out-coached. Their players were better prepared. Their players brought more energy. It starts with me.
"We've had trouble with teams that everybody tells us we should beat. When the record favors us and the media favors us, we've had a hard time overcoming that. So a motivation problem first and foremost and from there we struggled in every phase of the game."
Southern Utah started decently by taking the opening kickoff from its 35 and driving to the UC Davis 11. Three plays lost a yard, however, before Colton Cook's 29-yard field goal was blocked.
The Thunderbird defense forced a turnover on the Aggies' first possession, when Miles Killebrew recovered a fumble at the UC Davis 44. But after earning a first-and-10 at the 17, they settled for Cook's 30-yard field.
"We could have cracked open a pretty good lead with better execution of those two red zone opportunities," Lamb said.
Unfortunately for Southern Utah, it was the last time the Thunderbirds seemed energized or in control.
UC Davis owned a 14-3 lead by halftime, thanks to a pair of touchdown runs by Gabe Manzaneres. He ran 16 yards on third-and-2 to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead with 11 minutes, 1 second left in the opening half. He easily scored from the 2 with 4:27 left in the second quarter.
O Gabe Manzaneres runs for 136 yards and two touchdowns, leading UC Davis to a 21-3 victory over Southern Utah.
• The Thunderbirds have a two-game winning streak snapped. They fall to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky Conference.
• SUU fails to score a touchdown at home for the first time since midway through the 2001 season. Â
UC Davis 21, Southern Utah 3
UC Davis 0 14 7 0 21
S. Utah 3 0 0 0 3
SUt • FG Cook 30, 5:36.
UCDa • Manzanares 16 run (Stuart kick), 11:01.
UCDa • Manzanares 1 run (Stuart kick), 4:27.
UCDa • T.King 19 pass from R.Wright (Stuart kick), 9:11.
Attendance • 3,558.
First downs 22 19
Rushes-yards 44-199 20-45
Passing 193 281
Comp-Att-Int 16-25-0 29-50-2
Return Yards 4 6
Punts-Avg. 7-36.3 5-45.2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 3-30 3-35
Time of Possession 33:24 26:36
Rushing • UC Davis, Manzanares 33-175, Luuga 7-27, Turay 1-3, Team 1-(minus 2), R.Wright 2-(minus 4). S. Utah, Martin 9-47, Brown 4-16, Te'o 2-5, Cantu 5-(minus 23).
Passing • UC Davis, R.Wright 16-25-0-193. S. Utah, Cantu 29-50-2-281.
Receiving • UC Davis, T.King 4-69, Sloat 3-34, Galindo 3-30, Manzanares 3-27, Turay 1-19, Hemmingsen 1-8, Martin 1-6. S. Utah, Moala 8-90, McNabb 6-62, E.Pedersen 5-35, Robinson 3-45, Morgan 2-13, Brown 2-7, Martin 1-11, Norris 1-11, Allphin 1-7.