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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

College Rugby Insider: Red River Rivalry Comes to Rugby

by Ted Hardy

Another weekend, another round of college rugby is in the books. There were quite a few lopsided scores on the sheet this weekend, but there were also some real gems. As can be expected in late Winter, weather played havok on some of the schedule, cancelling a handful of games.

Without further ado... let's get at it.

Pacific Athletic Conference

Cal 75 UCLA 22 - The only game on the PAC schedule this weekend saw Cal use a runaway second half to put away a valiant UCLA squad. UCLA nearly went into the half with a 26-17 scoreline, but a try just before half stretched Cal's lead to 33-17. It was all Cal in the second half as they kept the scoreboard ticking over as they have for much of the season. Cal fullback Jake Anderson accounted for 25 points on a try and 10 of 11 conversions. Bear's outside center Seamus Kelly also scored two tries.

Atlantic Coast Rugby League

Clemson 22 Virginia Tech 18 - These two teams didn't disappoint as they posted yet another close scoreline. Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, the scoreline once again favored Clemson (1-0). The Tigers got a 79th minute try from Freshman flanker James Rogers to clinch the victory. Junior fullback Chris Merlo added two conversions and a penalty goal for Clemson. The victory is an early-season boost for Clemson and a disappointing start for the Hokies who were minutes away from a big road victory.

Virginia 30 North Carolina 16 - Virginia (1-1) collected a solid road victory in less than favorable weather conditions. North Carolina (1-1) now embarks on a difficult stretch where they face four of the top ACRL contenders in a row, with three of those games being on the road.

Maryland 34 North Carolina State 21 - Junior flyhalf Matias Cima paced Maryland (1-0) to a conference opening victory over NC State. Cima accounted for 22 points on four conversions and three penalty goals. The impressive day from the tee pushed Cima past 100 points, All-time, in ACRL competition.

Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference

South Carolina 26 LSU 13 - South Carolina (4-0) continued their blistering start to the season with a 26-13 victory over LSU (2-1) in Alabama. Junior wing Matt Bernato scored two tries for South Carolina as he returned to action after missing the early part of the season with an injury. The win for the Gamecocks puts the team on a collision course for their early April match against Tennessee. For LSU, the loss stings, but they are far from done. The Tigers are still the class of the SCRC West and will have their chance for redemption in the SCRC playoffs.

Florida 21 Vanderbilt 15 - Florida (2-2) evened up their record, but it wasn't easy as Vanderbilt (1-2) pushed the Gators. Florida received tries from Jason Lentz, Mitch Taulbee, and Fernando Carlo with Jared Rice successfully converting all three tries. Senior flyhalf and team Captain, Scott French accounted for all of the Commodores points on a perfect five penalty goals. Florida can play spoiler in a few weeks as they are on the road to face LSU.

Kentucky 45 Mississippi State 12 - Kentucky (2-1) notched their second win of the season as they cruised to a 45-12 victory over visiting Mississippi State (0-3). Kentucky will face a tough task as their next two conference games are Tennessee and South Carolina, but the squad has to be encouraged by their results thus far. MSU is yielding over 40 points per game during their winless start to conference play. They have to face LSU next week.

Tennessee 97 Georgia 5 - Played on Sunday in Atlanta at Silverback Park, there weren't any surprises as Tennessee (2-0) punished Georgia (0-3).   The Volunteers raced out to a 63-0 halftime lead on 11 tries. Tennessee added six more tries in the second half for a total of 17 on the day. The Vols were led by Seniors Matt Johnson and Mason Howard who each scored two tries in the first half. Sophomore scrumhalf Drew Stone added 22 points on two tries and six conversions.

Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference

Washington 42 Idaho 0 - Washington (3-1) kept pace in the NCRC West Division with a shutout victory over previously unbeaten Idaho (2-1). Washington second rower Hunter Dixon scored two tries to pace the Husky offense. Next weekend Washington faces off against arch-rival Washington State in the Apple Cup.

Washington State 52 Oregon 15 - Washington State (2-2) rolled to a 52-15 win over Oregon (0-3) behind two tries from outside center Darion Taylor. Casey Smith went 6 for 8 on conversions on the day for the Cougars. As mentioned above, the Cougars face off against Washington in the Apple Cup next weekend.

Allied Rugby Conference

Texas A&M 105 Sam Houston State 7 - Sam Houston State (0-2) continues their humbling start to the season as they were pounded by Texas A&M (1-0) this past weekend. Aggie center combination of JD Smiley and Brian Guillen each scored a hat trick of tries as they found plenty of room to run. Conor Mills added 11 conversions for Texas A&M in the rout.

"We knew it was always going to be a tough row to hoe" stated Sam Houston Head Coach Frank Rizzo. "The kind of changes we are making are not going to happen over night. The players have seen a different level over the past 2 weeks and it has been eye opening. However, they are as committed as ever."

Texas 39 Oklahoma 38 - Proving that the Red River Rivalry extends well beyond the football field, Texas and Oklahoma locked into one of the most exciting games on the college slate this weekend, Texas (1-0) made a mad charge late in the game to come away with a thrilling 39-38 win over Oklahoma (1-1). Oklahoma led the game for 76 minutes and led by a score of 38-24 in the 68th before the Longhorns ran off three straight tries, including one by Texas No. 8, and Man of the Match, Danny Cotton. Prop Fernando Assing scored the game winner for Texas.

“Our game plan was to play for touch and play for territory because we were confident we could control the lineout and disrupt any first-phase possession they had that way, and [lock JJ Pepper] was the main guy in that,” said Texas Coach Chris Hopps. “He played well around the park, no mistakes or anything, but they were unable to throw to the first half of the lineout, and he was the single reason why.”

“We play them (Oklahoma) every year in the fall, never been able to [win]. It’s always been really frustrating, but it’s great to get the win. OU’s always a big rival and we’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” said Texas senior reserve lock Phillip Lee.

Texas Tech 70 Baylor 0 - Texas Tech (2-0) rolled again this weekend as the blew out Baylor (0-2) by a score of 70-0. Texas Tech wing Abdul Sule was back at it, scoring three tries this weekend to give him eight in two games this season. Not to be outdone, scrumhalf Robert Poyser added 29 points on three tries and seven conversions. Poyser has scored 52 points in two games in ARC play. Texas Tech faces a stern task next weekend as they face off against Texas in a pivotal ARC matchup. Baylor faces another rough ride next weekend as they take on Texas A&M.

“I’m happy with some of the individual improvements we saw from players over last week’s game," said Baylor Assistant Coach Josh Neff. "We need to continue to improve both individually and as a team working together and trusting one another on the field. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have a predominately first year team."

California Conference

St. Mary's 64 UC-Santa Barbara 3 - In the "Have vs. Have Not" conference, St. Mary's (4-0) kept tied atop the standings with a thrashing of UCSB (0-3).

Cal Poly 58 UC Davis 8 - Cal Poly (4-0) is running neck and neck with St. Mary's in the California Conference. The bounced US Davis (0-2) by a score of 58-8.

San Diego State 78 Stanford 0 - The rugby woes continue for Stanford (0-4) as SD State (2-1) shut them out 78-0.

Santa Clara 45 Sacramento State 17 - In the closest California Conference match of the weekend, Santa Clara (2-0) rolled over Sacramento State (0-2) by a score of 45-17.

Southwest Conference

Rice 53 University of Texas Develop. 5 - In the lone SWC game this weekend, Rice (6-0) remained atop the SWC table with a beat down on the University of Texas Developmental (1-4) side. Maximillian Richards scorched UT to the tune of four tries which increased his total to 8 this season. Shaun Haby added two tries for the Owls.

Pacific Western Conference

Chico State 50 San Jose State 13 - Chico State (4-0) remained unbeaten in PWC play with a solid victory over San Jose State (2-2).

South Independent Rugby Conference

Florida State 23 Florida Atlantic 19 - Despite their winless record, Florida Atlantic (0-4) made Florida State (3-1) work for their 23-19 victory. The Seminoles' next SIRC game will be March 23rd when they take on Central Florida with the SIRC South on the line.

Central Florida 37 South Florida 3 - Speaking of Central Florida (4-0), the squad remained undefeated with a sound 37-3 win over South Florida (1-3)

Middle Tennessee State 40 Memphis 15 - Middle Tennessee State (4-1) kept pace in the SIRC North with a 40-15 win over Memphis (0-4).

Other College

Arkansas State 76 Northern Colorado 5

Life 80 Delaware 5

Central Washington 43 Western Washington 0

Oklahoma State 39 Pittsburgh State 22

Appalachia State 101 Western Carolina 0

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