Texas Tech avenged its only league loss Saturday, beating St. Edward’s 34-22 in the Texas championship game. The Raiders lost to St. Ed’s on a last-minute penalty goal in their previous match. The win propels the Red Raiders to the West semifinals, where they’ll face Central Missouri, winners of the Heart of America.
St. Ed’s, which hosted the match, led 16-15 at halftime, but Tech poured on 19-straight points to take the lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“In the second half, our conditioning kind of took over, and we stopped committing to rucks that we were losing, and our defense started holding up real well,” said Tech coach Grant Murchison.
“The first (loss to St. Ed’s) was mostly my fault as a coach…We went into that game with only one friendly under our belt, so it was just a lack of playing together.”
Texas Tech wanted to move to DI-AA for the 2011/2012 competitive cycle, but were not extended an invite to compete in the Southwest Collegiate Rugby Conference, which is home to eight of Tech’s traditional in-state competitors. (This link will take you to an archived story on the issue.)
Tech couldn’t find another DI-AA conference to be a part of, so it returned to DII. The Red Raiders have won Texas’ DII title, but are still smarting about not being in DI-AA.
“Especially with how weak that conference is now. There shouldn’t be two teams in the same conference that can beat each other by 100,” said Murchison. “The past couple of years we’ve played Rice and have beaten them pretty well, so for Texas to be playing Rice for a bid to the Sweet 16 is kind of upsetting for us.”
Texas defeated Rice 36-26 Saturday to win the Southwest and advance to the DI-AA Sweet 16.
Murchison says Tech won’t feel vindicated until it does something at Nationals.
“Since we’re in DII, we had high expectations from the get-go. We’re all pretty happy that we won state, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s just another step. Our goals are Nationals, not state titles.”