Frogs to face I-AA school; Ballard to return to field

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    Coming off its 17-7 win against the Baylor University Bears, the Horned Frogs football team will host the University of California at Davis Aggies at 6 p.m., Saturday at home.The Aggies are 1-0 following a 38-7 win over the Northern Colorado Bears and are ranked No. 19 in the Sports Network poll for division I-AA schools.

    The Frogs, who fought back in the second half against the Baylor Bears to gain the victory, will see the return of their starting senior quarterback Jeff Ballard, who left the game at halftime with migraines and was replaced by redshirt freshman Marcus Jackson.

    Although losing Ballard is not something head football coach Gary Patterson would have hoped for, he said he liked how the offense stepped up and that he now has two capable quarterbacks who can go in and handle the snaps and push each other in practices.

    “It’s not a quarterback controversy, but I think you have to have competition to be the best team you can be,” Patterson said.

    Patterson, who remembers the heartbreak of last season’s loss to Southern Methodist University following the team’s big win over Oklahoma University a week earlier, has been reluctant to talk too much about the upcoming game, but said the Aggies know how to win.

    “They’ve got a long tradition of winning,” Patterson said. “I think they’ve got like 36-straight winning seasons.”

    Patterson also said he expects a determined UC Davis team to show up for the game.

    “I-AA schools are very treacherous,” Patterson said. “We will be their Super Bowl.”

    Because of the Sunday game against Baylor, Patterson said the shortened week of practices has not been helpful for the team.

    “We’re on a short week, so game plan-wise, you’re a little bit behind schedule as far as making sure you have everything in place,” Patterson said.

    Following the win over the Bears, the Frogs are ranked No. 22 in the USA Today Poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll. The first Bowl Championship Series poll will not be released until Oct. 15.

    With a win Saturday, the Horned Frogs could improve to 2-0 on the season and would hold a current winning streak of 12-0, which could become the nation’s best, should the Ohio State University Buckeyes defeat the NCAA Champion University of Texas Longhorns, whose winning streak stands at 21 games.

    Go to dailyskiff.com Saturday night to get a recap of the game.