DAVIS, Calif. – Colton Silveria ran for two touchdowns and Randy Wright passed for another, all in the first half, as UC Davis built a 21-3 advantage and held on for a 24-17 victory over Cal Poly in a Great West Conference football game and the eighth edition of the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe on Saturday afternoon at Aggie Stadium.
Despite having a four-game winning streak snapped, Cal Poly remains in first place in the Great West at 3-1 (5-4 overall). UC Davis improved to 1-2 in conference and 3-6 for the season.
Cal Poly forced UC Davis to punt just once in the first three quarters and the Mustangs committed a season-high 13 penalties for 114 yards as the Aggies beat Cal Poly for the third straight year. UC Davis now leads the series 19-16-2.
Mustang junior quarterback Andre Broadous threw his first collegiate interception on his 208th career attempt. Jonathan Calhoun intercepted the pass with 9:15 to play in the game and returned the theft for a touchdown. The score was erased due to offsetting penalties, but the interception stood.
Cal Poly, which let a 21-3 halftime lead slip away in a 22-21 loss to UC Davis a year ago in Alex G. Spanos Stadium, trailed the Aggies by the same 21-3 count Saturday.
After James Langford kicked a 26-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game, UC Davis answered with three touchdowns.
Wright hit Tom Hemmingsen with an eight-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and Silveria romped 27 and two yards for touchdowns in the second period and a 21-3 Aggie lead at the intermission.
Cal Poly was not without its scoring chances in the first half.
The Mustangs drove to the UC Davis 17-yard line late in the first quarter before Broadous was sacked on fourth down and fumbled the ball to the Aggies, ending a 46-yard drive. Broadous missed a wide-open David Mahr two plays earlier on second down.
Asa Jackson returned a kickoff 49 yards to the UC Davis 33 early in the second quarter, but the Mustangs were forced to punt.
And Cal Poly marched to the UC Davis 3-yard line just before halftime but Broadous again was sacked on fourth and goal.
Sean Kelley's 36-yard field goal with 4:24 to go in the third quarter gave UC Davis a 24-3 lead and Cal Poly answered with a one-yard run by Broadous with 1:50 left in the period, trimming the Aggie lead to 24-10.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Mustangs converted three fourth-down plays en route to another touchdown. The 91-yard, 17-play drive was capped by a one-yard run by Deonte Williams and the PAT kick by Langford pulled Cal Poly to within one score at 24-17 with 2:08 to play.
The ensuing onside kick by Cal Poly was covered by Hemmingsen. The Mustangs got the ball back with 1:45 to play at their own 5-yard line, but fumbled the ball back to the Aggies in the final 40 seconds.
A light and steady rain fell throughout the final period with temperatures in the low 50s.
Williams (pictured above) earned his first 100-yard game as a Mustang, netting exactly 100 yards on 21 carries. Fullback Jake Romanelli added 56 yards on 18 trips.
Broadous completed 11 of 21 passes for 115 yards and was sacked five times. Redshirt freshman Lance Castaneda caught a career-high seven passes for 72 yards.
For UC Davis, Wright completed 14 of 20 passes for 203 yards. Hemmingsen caught five Aggie passes for 63 yards. Top Aggie rusher was Silveria with 65 yards on 16 carries.
Cal Poly compiled a 23-21 edge in first downs, but UC Davis built a 352-334 advantage in total offense. The Mustangs had possession of the ball 5 minutes, 26 seconds more than the Aggies.
Averaging just 77.4 rushing yards a game, UC Davis churned up 149 yards on the ground against a Cal Poly defense which was giving up only 140 yards a contest.
Cal Poly plays its final home game of the 2011 season Saturday, Nov. 12, against defending NCAA FCS champion Eastern Washington at 6:05 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.