|Bowling Green's Tommy Walsh powers onward. Roger Mazzarella photo|
|Davenport's JP Eloff en route to one of three tries, Taylor Hodge photo|
Davenport and Miami shellacked their respective opponents Saturday by a combined score of 144-18, setting up a massive Oct. 22 clash in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Miami’s win, 92-13, came against Purdue. The Boilermakers are far from a traditional rugby powerhouse, but they boast wins this season over Ohio State and Michigan State. Outside back Reed Fenton scored four tries in the effort.
The Reds are having a stellar season so far, averaging over 60 points a game. Says Jared Moore, Miami’s coach, the success isn’t a result of an infusion of talent.
“They understand the mental part of the game. Not to take anything away from the guys that we have now, but I think there was just as much talent on the two teams that went to nationals and last year’s team, but the problem was the mental preparation and the mental part of it.
“For instance, yesterday a guy that would have normally dump-tackled a guy or hit a guy after a kick, he let up, he didn’t do it, whereas, a year ago or two years ago he would have done that, and that’s a dumb thing to do.
“They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Not that in years past they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, but this year it’s the little things I see them doing each week that I think is attributing to their success, besides the fact that they’ve been playing for a while.”
Davenport scored 40 less points than Miami Saturday, but did so against a tougher opponent in a 52-5 win over Indiana. The Mudsharks, on the tail end of a brutal three-game series against Bowling Green, Miami and Davneport, came out of the opening bell swinging but lost steam after intermission. Indiana trailed just 10-0 at halftime, but were run off the pitch in the second half.
“They had their backs against the walls and they needed to win to still be able to qualify. I think they came out aggressive on defense. They came after us, and they spent all but 30 minutes in our half. They came out to play. Our defense just held up, which was good for us,” said Davenport coach Kruger von Biljon.
“There were a lot of knock-ons, stupid mistakes from us in the first half. I told the guys to just go back to what we know, play our structures, and we started running our lines and our calls and the game started opening up.”
When it opened up, Panther flyhalf JP Eloff and hooker Gabe Sochanek took advantage. Eloff bagged three tries and Sochanek two.
Elsewhere in the Mideast, Bowling Green managed a 20-19 defeat of Ohio State. The Buckeyes led almost the entire match, but the Falcons jumped ahead with the game’s final score, when down 19-15 Bowling Green fullback Matt Marquette dotted down the game-winning try.
The big momentum shift came a score earlier, though, when Bowling Green’s Sam Polzin intercepted an Ohio State pass and dished to center Alex Hopkirk for the try that brought the Falcons within an unconverted score from the lead.