Gretchen Smith photo
All eyes are on the developments in the College Premier Division East, where it appears that Navy and Army are on a collision course on April 30.
However, Penn State is not out of it, yet, as they won Saturday and can still get a place in the Quarterfinals if they beat Army next week and then see Army lose to Navy a week later.
A tough ask as Army looked strong again Saturday, beating Ohio State 57-15
Meanwhile Penn State held off a determined Rutgers team 28-17, Navy came back to beat Dartmouth 27-10, and Kutztown edged Delaware in a contentious match 32-24.
Delaware Head Coach Bjorn Haglid was clearly not pleased with how his team’s game ended. Kutztown were given three yellow cards and Haglid said he felt one or two should have been a different color. Certainly he was frustrated with his team’s inability to take quick taps on penalties as the referee kept calling the play back.
“How are we supposed to capitalize if they don’t let us take quick taps?” he said. “Kutztown played old-school rugby and good for them, they won.”
Both teams are now 2-3 and out of playoff contention.
Penn State handled a tough Rutgers team on a cold, wet day that played into the Rutgers forward-heavy approach.
“If you don’t stop those forwards you’re in for some problems because they don’t quit,” said Penn State Head Coach Don Ferrell. “We had to make sure we didn’t throw the ball around. Even though this was a forward’s day, we had a lot more balance today. Depending on the week we have as many as five freshmen in our backline. They adjusted really well today.”
But the game with the most on the line combined with the most drama was probably Navy at Dartmouth. The Big Green ran out to a 10-0 lead before Navy came back to tie it at halftime. The Midshipmen then controlled the game in the second half, scoring three tries to win 27-10.
“We played very well defensively,” said Navy Head Coach Mike Flanagan. “Some of the guys are growing into this league, and I think we proved we can play on the road and win on the road. Our defense was very stout today.”
Lock forward Chase Burge had a breakout match. A former defensive tackle for the Navy football team, Burge has converted to rugby with some success, played excellent defense, and scored two tries.
With two games left in the Rugby East season, Navy and Army are both at 5-0. Penn State is 4-1 but lacks the bonus points and are 7 points behind. They need two wins and two losses by Army to make the playoffs. At 2-3, Dartmouth, Kutztown and Delaware are all out of playoff contention.