DAVIS, Calif. — It has been more than a decade since Cal State Northridge beat UC Davis in football at Toomey Field.
Since that loss in 1981, the Aggies had won eight consecutive games against Northridge until the Matadors ended that streak last season with a 14-10 triumph at North Campus Stadium.
The outcome had added meaning: Davis was denied a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs despite compiling a 7-3 record and winning the Northern California Athletic Conference championship with a 5-0 mark.
Davis (3-1) might be looking at a replay if it retains its conference title but loses tonight's battle with Northridge beginning at 7.
The Matadors (2-2), defending co-champions of the Western Football Conference, could suffer a similar fate. Winning the WFC might not be enough if they lose to Davis.
The Aggies are 2-1 against teams from the WFC. After wins over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara, Davis lost to Cal State Sacramento, 50-18, last Saturday.
Northridge Coach Bob Burt is concerned that the lopsided defeat will serve as a motivator for the Aggies.
"They are like a wounded animal," Burt said. "If you are gonna pet an animal you pet a happy one, not a wounded one."
Davis Coach Bob Foster is worried that his players will dwell on the loss, the Aggies' worst since 1987.
"It does hurt your confidence a bit," Foster said. "But our guys are the kind of guys who play hard regardless."
Davis, with Mike Quinn at quarterback, runs a pass-oriented offense. Fourteen players have caught passes from Quinn, who has completed 76 of 133 attempts for 930 yards.
Tight end Josh Weinstock and wide receiver Shawn Moss lead the receiving corps with 14 receptions each, for 229 yards and 193 yards, respectively.
"They throw the ball really well," Burt said, "and defensively they play really hard."
Foster believes it will be a low-scoring game.
"I hope it is," he said. "I think these are two pretty good defenses. Their defensive line is just amazing. I kind of enjoy watching them."
In the Matadors' most recent outing, a 9-7 win over Central Oklahoma on Sept. 28, the three-man defensive front of tackles Ken Jackson and Alo Sila and nose guard Carlos Adley was altered because of a shoulder injury to Adley. With Adley sidelined, Sila moved to nose guard and Ron McKinney made his first start at right tackle.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound McKinney responded with seven tackles, including a sack.
"He's very active," Burt said. "He dominated Central Oklahoma in some areas and made a couple of huge plays at the right time."
With Adley able to play tonight, Sila will move back to right tackle and McKinney will be used in a reserve role.
"We'll alternate all of them and keep them fresh," Burt said of McKinney and the other backup defensive linemen, Damien Jenkins and Mike Zorn. Six travel and "all six will play. We have three seniors and three juniors. It's a nice situation."
Northridge has relied on its defense all season. The Matador offense has scored only five touchdowns and is managing only 244.3 yards per game in offense--only 89.8 yards rushing.
Burt is hopeful that the momentum gained from CSUN's fourth-quarter touchdown march against Central Oklahoma will carry over.
Northridge quarterback Marty Fisher looked sharp on the drive, completing passes of 24 and 25 yards--bombs by CSUN standards.
Penalties, which have stalled many Northridge drives, remain a concern, however.
"The penalties have got to stop, but it is difficult to do (so) on the road," Burt said. "I've been to Davis before and funny things happen with little yellow flags."