D1A Week 3 Preview

D1A Rugby: D1A Week 3 Preview
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MID-SOUTH

Notre Dame (0-1) @ Oklahoma (0-2)

This is a pivotal early-season match for both teams. Notre Dame is coming off a loss to Arkansas State last weekend while Oklahoma is looking to rebound from a loss to Texas A&M. Notre Dame is traveling for the second weekend in a row and will face a tough, and highly motivated, Oklahoma team. This weekend’s match is extremely important for Oklahoma, as they would rather not begin the season at (0-3) and wish to build momentum heading into their matchup with Arkansas State next weekend.

Texas A&M (1-1) @ Life (1-0)

Last weekend Texas A&M got their motor running with a big win over Oklahoma. On Saturday they look to maintain momentum as their travel to Marietta, GA to face a strong Life side. Both Life and A&M are in second place in the Mid-South Conference with 5 points earned through their respective wins.

Life comes into the match led by All-Americans Cameron Dolan and Joseph Cowley, who have each scored three tries this season. Other notable All-Americans on the Life squad are Kyle Grossheider, Paul Bester, and Colton Carriaga. Texas A&M comes into this match led in tries scored by Luke Carter who has touched down four this season. Michael Mills leads the Aggies with the boot kicking through 12 conversions and two penalties this season in two matches.

PACIFIC

St. Mary’s (0-0) @ UCLA (1-0)

The 2011 Pacific Conference second place team, Saint Mary’s, begins their D1A season against a strong UCLA side that defeated UC-Davis 27-5 in their opener. Against UC-Davis, UCLA was able to overcome a slow first half to score 24 points in the second half. The Bruins were led in scoring by Race Noeldner who touched down two tries and Ben Francis who kicked through a penalty and a conversion.

St. Mary’s comes into Saturday’s match with an impressive (6-1) preseason record since January 14, with notable wins came against Utah (41-10) and Olympic Club (53-10). Their only loss this preseason came on February 21 against the University of British Columbia (14-31). A strong core of All-Americans leads Saint Mary’s: Andrew Cooke, Nick Wallace, and Tim Maupin are three active selections from 2011.

RUGBY EAST

Delaware (0-0) @ Army (0-0)

Rugby East play begins this weekend with last year’s Conference Champion, Army, taking on Delaware at West Point. Army finished the 2011 regular season (7-0) but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Utah. Delaware, on the other hand, finished the regular season at (2-5) and are looking to start the season on a high note with a big road win over Army. Will Holder will lead Army into their 2012 campaign after an All-American performance in 2011 where he notched 8 tries, 30 conversions, and 14 penalties.

Navy (0-0) @ Rutgers (0-0)

The game between Rutgers and Navy is a matchup between the last and second place teams from the 2011 Rugby East Conference regular season, respectively. Rutgers is looking to start the 2012 season with a big win over Navy at home, while Navy is looking to continue their winning tradition with a victory over Rutgers. The Rugby East Conference is likely to be a tight contest for first place and thus, favorable seeding into the playoffs. A win in this game will give either of these teams a huge confidence boost going into conference play.

WESTERN

Air Force (0-0) @ Arizona (0-0)

The Air Force Zoomies will be traveling to Tucson, AZ to face the Arizona Wildcats in a match that is sure to be tight. Arizona finished 2011 (4-3) while Air Force finished (3-4). The match between the two teams last year was the deciding factor in their final Conference standings; both teams came into the match at (3-3) and Arizona narrowly defeated Air Force 35-29 in the last match of the season. On Saturday Arizona will be without 2011 All-American and National Sevens Team member, Peter Tiberio.

BYU (0-0) @ Arizona State (0-0)

2011 National Runners-up, BYU, will travel to Tempe, AZ to face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday. In 2011, ASU finished Western Conference in third place at (5-2) while BYU was Western Conference champs at (7-0). In their match last year, BYU was able to defeat the Sun Devils 80-0 on their home turf. Understandably, ASU will be looking to avenge last year’s loss in front of a home crowd on familiar turf.

BYU is led by a solid group of 2011 All-Americans: Ryan Roundy, Mikey Su’a, Hynie Leaaetoa, and Dylan Lubbe. Comparatively, Arizona State is looking to fill the gap left by 2011 All-American, Travis Hughes. Look out for Adam Sandstrom and Eric Rygiel to step up and lead the Sun Devils through the match this weekend and throughout the season.

Colorado State (0-0) @ Colorado (0-0)

In-state rivals, Colorado and Colorado State, face off in their respective D1A season openers at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. The match to be played on March 3 is a rematch of the Colorado Cup played in October where the Colorado Buffaloes came away with a 39-13 victory over the Colorado State Rams.