Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 17 March 2012 19:06    PDF Print Write e-mail
Kutztown Wins on Late Kick
Colleges - Men's DI College

Kutztown narrowly edged Ohio State Saturday to start its DI-A season 1-0.

Tied 22-22 for most of the last 15 minutes of the match, Kutztown got a couple of chances to win. The first came when Ohio State was pinged for hands in the ruck about 35 yards from the posts. KU’s normal kicker, Devon Somma, missed.

With no time left on the clock, and Somma on the bench having left with cramps, Kutztown was awarded another shot at goal in the center of the field from about 25 yards out. 6-7 lock Mike Lawrenson slotted the game-winning penalty.

“It was an ugly kick, but it went through, and that makes it pretty. We were very lucky to get out of here with a win,” said Kutztown coach Gregg Jones.  

“We have three kickers that we practice with all week. Mike’s one of them, and his job is the straight on kick.”

Kutztown started game with a 15-5 run, but Ohio State rebutted with 14-straight points to take a 19-15 lead. Kutztown’s Zack Jessel put the Golden Bears back in front with a converted try in the meat of the second half, and Ohio State leveled with a penalty to make the 22-22 tie.

With it knotted up late, Ohio State appeared to score what would have been the winning try off of a well-laid grubber that was dotted down. However, the would-be scorer had a teammate running right alongside him who was called for obstruction.  

Jones was complimentary of Ohio State’s forwards.

“The Ohio State forwards came out, and for 80 minutes, took it to our forwards, totally,” he said. “They tried to starve our backs and did a good job of it.”

The Buckeyes try to bounce back next week against Rutgers, while Kutztown takes on Army.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Saturday, 17 March 2012 18:45    PDF Print Write e-mail
Big Second Half Goes for BYU
Colleges - Men's DI College

Provo, UT—The BYU Cougars battled with St. Mary’s in the early going, but pulled away late in a non-league clash of #1 and #2 in the D1-A, ultimately beating the 2nd-ranked Gaels 53-17.

Paul Meyers photo.St. Mary’s kept the game tight for a good portion of the match, and the teams changed ends with the score 25-14. But the Cougars defense picked up in the second half and held St. Mary’s without a try.

BYU started the game by forcing a penalty in the 1st minute. The shot at goal was wide however, but BYU stayed on point and kept the pressure on, and that led to flanker Kumi Tua’one charging across the tryline for the opening score in the 6th minute.

For the next 15 minutes however BYU errors and St. Mary’s execution kept the Cougars inside their own 22 meter line. The Gaels would eventually find paydirt and garner a well-deserved try. The conversion was successful and St. Mary’s took an early lead 7-5 in the 19th minute.

The BYU Cougars answered quickly however and a wide pass after a St. Mary’s turn over would offer wing Will Taylor the first of his two tries in the 22nd minute.

Another quick score from BYU came in the 25th minute after an errant St. Mary’s kick offered Davies the counter attack opportunity. Scrumhalf Shaun Davies dummied a pair of Gael defenders and made a short pass to fullback Tua Leai who carried the remaining 40 meters for the score. That made it 17-7, and soon it was 22-7 as flyhalf Dylan Lubbe scored in the 28th minute.

St. Mary’s however used the wind well, kicking to the corner and pinning the Cougars back again inside their 22. They eventually scored in the 33rd minute.

At 22-14 BYU extended their lead with a Shaun Davies penalty and that was halftime.

“We wanted to start the game fast,” said BYU captain Ryan Roundy, “Which I think we did. We had some pressure which we weathered well, but all in all we had a good start and then we fixed a few things at half time and closed out the game well I thought.”

The Cougars closed the game with four more tries via Leai, Taylor, hooker Ishmael Tilialo and replacement prop Joey Mount. But more importantly the Cougars held the potent St. Mary’s attack in check and to only one penalty goal in the 52nd minute.

Two of those early tries really hurt the Gaels. Early in the second half St. Mary's was pressuring inside the BYU 22, knocked the ball on, and saw the Cougars gallop back 90 meters for a try. Moments later the Gaels were inside the BYU half and did it again, seeing seven points the other way as the result.

"A number of errors on our part led to some crucial scores," said St. Mary's Head Coach Tim O'Brien.

“We knew coming in that our defensive effort had to be good,” said prop Ray Forrester, “St. Mary’s really put us under pressure but we did a better job in the second half and that was good to see.”

“I was very pleased with the defense,” added BYU Head Coach David Smyth. “St. Mary’s are an excellent team and had us on the ropes for a time. But our defense held strong. I thought our set piece was very good today and while we had some good games from two or three players, I really feel like we had solid performances from one through 15.”

The Gaels provided a stern test for a BYU team that is constantly looking to be tested. Smyth said his players welcomed the challenged and met it.

“I am very, very impressed with St. Mary’s,” he said. “If we could play a team like that every week we’d love it. They can only make you better.”

St. Mary’s cannot come out of the game too discouraged. Despite being ranked #2 in the D1-A they are still a work in progress, and one that has to remake itself every week. The team that made the trip to Provo was without nine players, many of them previous starters.

Included in that absent list, Chad Clark, Jake Holguin, Max Heath, Joe Brophy, Bubba Jones, Garrett Brewer and Lloyd Evans, most of whom are injured.

"BYU's speed, width, depth and ferocity on attack was very hard to deal with," said O'Brien. "We were hard to deal with, too, at times. We really enjoyed playing this game. It was an amazing experience, and I hope we get to meet them again in the future."

Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 17 March 2012 18:14    PDF Print Write e-mail
Aggies Down Irish on St. Pat's
Colleges - Men's DI College

Texas A&M cemented its position as the Mid-South’s best team not named Life or Arkansas State with a 38-8 defeat of Notre Dame in College Station, Texas Saturday.

The Aggies led just 12-3 at halftime, having left a pair of prime scoring opportunities on the table.

“I guarantee, when I watch film, I’m going to be real upset,” said A&M coach Brett Mills. “Two for-sure tries that we turned over on bad passes, that were almost walk-in tries in the first half, we wasted.”

A&M went aggressively on attack in after the break, starting with a 50-meter penalty kick from Connor Mills.

“That kind of set the tone for the second half,” said Mills, who happens to be Connor’s father. “We attacked them much better at the breakdown, too, in the second half.”

Connor was the high-scorer of the day, chipping in four penalties, three conversions and dotting down one try for a tally of 23 points.

Coach Mills was complimentary of the effort of the Fighting Irish.

“Those Notre Dame kids are tough and they’re disciplined,” he said. “Physically, it was a great test. They were not backing down an inch all day today.”

Notre Dame gets next week off, while A&M hosts Arkansas State.

Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 17 March 2012 18:39    PDF Print Write e-mail
Buffs Bowl Over Arizona State
Colleges - Men's DI College

Colorado lambasted Arizona State 67-5 Saturday in Boulder, Colo. The Buffs were still smarting from a close loss to Arizona the week before, which served as motivation to make a point Saturday.

“Our guys, quite honestly, we were a little bit mad after last week. The game against Arizona is one we felt we should have won, and there were some controversial calls,” said Colorado coach Jim Snyder.

“We went into this week pretty angry and looking for a little bit of revenge, and so we came out swinging with a wide-open style of play, and we were able to score, in the first 20 minutes, a couple of tries, and from there it just started to snow ball.”

Colorado did a good job of turning over the Sun Devils and counterattacking.

“Our guys got into a mindset of just attack right away, and that proved pretty fruitful,” said Snyder. “Several of our scores came off of turnover ball and one or two phases. While their defense was still disheveled, we would score.

Dotting down three of Colorado’s numerous tries was freshman Adam Page. A U20 candidate and former captain of Denver East High School, Page played like an upperclassman Saturday.

“He played really well. He’s a real big kid, and he’s got tremendous game instincts. He’s been playing for, I think, seven years now, and he comes from a really established high school program,” said Snyder.  

“He’s just a smart player, good all-around rugby player. He’s also a big kid. Probably 6-4 and 220 and he’s just a freshman. He stepped up today.”

Colorado plays rival Air Force next Friday, and Arizona State gets a week off to lick its wounds.

Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 17 March 2012 18:10    PDF Print Write e-mail
Gators Clinch Playoff Spot, Gamecocks Win
Colleges - Men's DI College

Florida secured a spot in the Southeastern semifinals with a 17-14 defeat of LSU Saturday. The Gators will finish second in the SEC East, and likely get the Tigers in a rematch next month.

Florida scored a pair of tries in the first half, one converted, to take a 12-0 lead. It held that lead until just before intermission, when LSU dotted down a converted try to draw within five.

Midway through the second half, Will Greaves extended Florida’s lead with an unconverted try. LSU then pulled back within striking distance near the 70-minute mark with its second converted try. 17-14. Both teams had possession in the final 10 minutes, but Florida was able to hang on for the win.

Beating LSU is a feather in Florida’s cap, and could count for something when the competitions committee convenes next month to decide at-large berths for Nationals, of which there are only three. Florida coach Ken Simmons believes at least one should go to the runner-up in the Southeast.

“I think the second place in the SEC definitely deserves an at-large. I wish there was a better way to really see what the other teams have,” he said.

“But the way I look at it is, whoever wins the SEC championship’s going to be in a really good place, because they’ve gone through tough teams to get there. I think they’ll have played the competition they’ll need to be ready.

Elsewhere in the Southeast, South Carolina scored it’s second-consecutive win, beating Vanderbilt 34-27 in overtime.

Vandy led the visiting Gamecocks at halftime, 24-17, but couldn’t keep the advantage. South Carolina thought it had won the game near the end of regulation when scrumhalf Tim Holkenberg ran in off of a five-meter scrum, but the ref said he knocked on, forcing overtime.

Near the end of the first overtime period, USC was awarded a penalty try, which would prove to be the game winner.

“We drove the ball down right under the middle of the post,” said Gamecocks coach Mark Morris. “The pack was controlling the ball from about 30 meters in, was getting ready to score, and one of the guys that was posting up intentionally knocked the ball forward so we couldn’t score.”

South Carolina had to leave several players at home in Columbia, as they couldn’t get out of St. Patrick’s Day shifts at bars and restaurants, making the comeback win that much more impressive.

“It was a good thing. We went up there with B and C players and came back and beat a decent team,” Morris said.


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