Football heads to Davis for the always-hyped Causeway Classic

State Hornet Staff

Transfer quarterback Mason Magleby arrived at Sacramento State’s first practice of the season this year and was greeted with open arms.

But when coaches saw the blue cleats he was wearing, a change had to be made.

“Coach said I had to take those cleats off because we don’t wear blue,” Magleby said.

Magleby only wore the blue cleats because he played at the University of Nevada last season, but coaches made it known that no blue would be worn during his time as a Hornet.

“Right then I knew this was a pretty serious rivalry,” Magleby said. “You don’t wear your rival school’s colors.”

The Causeway Classic football game between Sac State and UC Davis might not be well known throughout the country, but within the Sacramento and Davis vicinity, it is known as the game of the year.

“During my first year here, I didn’t understand it,” said Matt Agaiava, who played two seasons for the Hornets in 2010 and 2011. “I just knew everybody hated Davis, but I finally found out that week before we played them.”

The rivalry game started in 1954 and became official eight years later when a trophy was introduced in the form of a giant, 19th century carriage. The carriage was retired in the mid-1990s because it cost too much to transport between schools, but it has been replaced with a trophy made out of cement from the Yolo Causeway.

Senior linebacker Jeff Badger was raised just two hours from Sacramento and knew of the rivalry, but when he decided to play for Sac State, the rivalry really hit home. His dad attended Davis 26 years ago.

“As long as I am wearing the green and gold on game days he said he would support me,” Badger said. “But as soon as I stop, we are going to have to go against each other.”

Davis currently leads the series 41-18 and has won 16 out of the last 20 meetings, but Badger knows what it takes it to beat Davis. He played in 2009 as a freshman when the Hornets won on a touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the game.

“We are going to have tougher practices and work harder because it is that rivalry game,” Badger said. “There is more passion to it.”

Sac State had this last week off to prepare for Davis after it played for 10 straight weeks, but head coach Marshall Sperbeck said that after a couple of days they were back on the field for Sunday morning practice.

“We’ve never had a bye week before this big rivalry game so this was uncharted waters for us,” Sperbeck said. “We just took it like any other bye week, getting ourselves rested up and fundamentally trying to instill in our kids that we need to get better every single day.”

The Hornets could also be on the bubble to make the playoffs for the first time in school history. A win will give Sac State seven wins and its best record since 1992. Although there are 20 spots up for grabs in the FCS playoff tournament, only three seven-win teams made it last season.

“I don’t think we are too focused on playoffs,” Badger said. “We are just going to go out there, play Davis and play the game we know how to play.”

The Causeway Classic will be held at 3 p.m. this Saturday in Aggie Stadium on the campus of UC Davis.

Green Army will be selling $20 ticket packages that include a bus ride and ticket to the game.

Ryan Kuhn can be reached at @rskuhn