MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon coach Duke Iverson knew that his offense would have quite a challenge against UC Davis, on a night where he was missing wide receiver Mike Hinshaw and going up a against a team that was excellent against the run.
Still, no one expected that the Wolves would garner less than 100 yards in four quarters of action, leading to a 27-7 loss to the NCAA Div. I-AA Aggies in front of 6,460 fans at Toomey Field on Oct. 11.
The loss was the fourth straight for WOU, now 2-4 on the season. The Aggies improved to 3-2.
Western Oregon, still adjusting to life without starting quarterback Denny Bies, also had to make due without Hinshaw, the speedy pass catcher, who missed the contest with an ankle injury.
The Wolves also played without starting middle linebacker Kevin Holcomb, who missed the contest because of a family emergency.
On offense, Western Oregon was held to seven yards rushing and had just 90 through the air.
"They really shut down our running game, and they were then able to then pay more attention to Brad than we wanted them to," Iverson said, referring to tight coverage applied to WOU's other senior speedster, Brad Satran. "We also dropped more balls than we should have, and you just can't do that against UC Davis."
Quarterback Ryan Thorson, in his fourth start, finished 14 of 31 for 92 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Despite the struggles, the game and Western Oregon's offense looked much different for one touchdown drive early in the game. Thorson and the Wolves drove 78 yards late in the first quarter, taking 14 plays and 5:18 to score and take a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Thorson hit Satran with a 5-yard strike, and the promise of more offense gave the Wolves hope, coupled with a great WOU defensive effort in the first 15 minutes.
But a 69-yard kickoff return and a 28-yard punt return by Aaron Plunkett set up two Aggie touchdowns as the hosts took a 14-7 lead.
After a 39-yard field goal by Dusty Apotocos made it 17-7, UCD turned momentum around for good when a blocked punt was recovered in the end zone by Scott Williams for another score.
Neither team scored in the second half until Apotocos added another 39-yard three-pointer with four minutes left in the game.
"Our defense played so outstanding again," said Iverson. "That is our best effort by far defensively against a UC Davis football team." The Aggies had previously scored at least 40 points a game in five meetings against the Wolves, including last year's 64-20 blowout in Monmouth.
UC Davis finished with 332 yards in total offense, including 72 yards in rushing by Antar Mahasin.
The Wolves finish a three-game road trip on Saturday, Oct. 18 with a contest at Western New Mexico. Kickoff is at noon PDT.