The top two teams in the Allied Rugby Conference failed to separate themselves today, as Texas A&M and Oklahoma played to a 27-27 tie in College Station, Texas. The Aggies led 22-10 at halftime, the Sooners took the lead in the second half, and a late try pulled A&M back even.
With a stiff wind at their backs, the Aggies scored four first-half tries. Wing Grayson Dowlearn scored two and wing Trigun Soni scored one. Oklahoma got a brace of unconverted tries from hooker George Fritsch and lock Zack Martinez.
The field, wind advantage, and momentum shifted in the second half.
"Looked like we were in the driver's seat and we let the foot off the gas, and of course OU came back hard on us. They ended up dominating us in the second half," said Texas A&M coach Brett Mills.
"We just made some really stupid mistakes. Twice when we should have cleared from our own end we tried to take the ball out and knocked it on and gave Oklahoma a chance to score. Of course they're a good team and they took advantage of both of those.
"We weren't setting pillar and post second half, so they were getting those mini breaks, and that caused us some problems. First half we were running good, tight pattern. We had guys running good unders lines and we were getting the ball wide. I don't think we got the ball past the inside center the second half."
Oklahoma was strong in the breakdown, and though the Aggie forwards were formidable in the set pieces, the Sooner pack accounted for all of OU's tries on the day. Prop Toby Harden and flankers David Nixon and Ben Gilstrap dotted down consecutive tries in the second half, putting the Sooners up 27-22.
The clutch second-half score for the Aggies came after Theodore put them within striking distance with a kick to touch off a penalty. A&M won the lineout and freshman reserve hooker Connor Wilson was credited the mauled in try.
"For us, everybody had Oklahoma hugely favored in the game, so for us to come out with a tie, I couldn't be more pleased with it," said Mills. "I would have loved it more with a win, but to be quite honest, it beats the hell out of a loss."
Elsewhere in the Allied, Baylor knocked off Texas Tech 32-31. With Sam Houston struggling to field a team, and Baylor beating Tech after losing big to Oklahoma, it appears the Aggies and Sooners are destined for a rematch of Saturday's draw in the conference championship game.