Coach Dan Hawkins has raved all season about the depth of his UC Davis football team, and nowhere was a surplus of skill and talent more pronounced on Saturday in Utah than at quarterback.
Two-time Big Sky Conference Player of the Week Hunter Rodrigues left early in the fourth quarter after sustaining a hard hit, and Hawkins, the Aggies coach, turned to third-stringer Miles Hastings to lead the charge the rest of the way.
A redshirt freshman from San Marcos, Hastings calmly led UCD to the 1-yard line in the closing moments, where second-stringer Trent Tompkins came in and took a direct snap and raced in untouched with 27 seconds to play as No. 10 UCD beat No. 14 Weber State 17-10 in Ogden in a Big Sky Conference opener.
Erron Duncan iced it with an interception off a tipped pass by Chris Venable with 14 seconds left, and Aggies players hugged - some cried - in celebrating the end of a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats. UCD is 4-0.
Rodrigues was not at his sharpest, in part because the hard-hitting Wildcats boast one of the top defenses in the country at the FCS level. He completed 11 of 26 passes for 99 yards. Hastings completed 7 of 9 passes for 50 yards. Tompkins is nicknamed “Magic” by UCD coaches for his ability to make plays at quarterback or on special teams, including breaking 80- or 90-yard touchdown runs.
On fourth-and-6 on the final drive, Hastings hit Carson Crawford inside the 20, and a penalty moved the ball to the 2. Tompkins carried for a yard and then won it. Hawkins strives for offensive balance, and he has that element in Ulonzo Gilliam Jr., one of UCD’s most prolific career rushers. He went for 64 yards and scored UCD’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run.
UCD defensive tackle Bryce Rodgers contributed to two of his team’s takeaways. UCD came into the game tied as the FCS leader in turnover margin. Weber State. Kylan Weisser hit Josh Davis for an 8-yard touchdown pass, and Dontae McMillan had an 11-yard run for a 14-10 Weber State lead with 10:04 left to play.
Isaiah Gomez cut it to 14-10 on a 23-yard field goal with 5:32 left in the third to cap a 14-play, 69-yard drive.
UCD lost 18-13 at Weber State in the spring season. The Aggies hosts Idaho on Saturday at 7 p.m. on Aggies Hall of Fame Weekend.