Four from Red River ready for conference contests

D1A Rugby: Four from Red River ready for conference contests
Photo Credit: Travis Prior

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Texas A&M will look to improve to 2-0 in the Red River Friday, Oct. 28, against Houston, and LSU begins its campaign for a second consecutive conference title Oct. 29 when the Tigers host Texas.

LSU vs. Texas
A season after going undefeated in its first year in the Red River, LSU has to be considered the favorite to win the conference again this year. The Tigers will need to replace star center Jeff Mauras and a few other quality players who graduated, but have plenty of leadership and skill to carry on. Included in the group of more experienced players prepared to shoulder additional responsibility is lock Zach Stratton and fly half Cam Troxler.

Unlike LSU, Texas has already played its first Red River match of the season – a 37-5 loss to Texas A&M. Eight man Reed Hogan was his usual hard-hitting self on defense while scoring the Longhorns’ lone try, but he’ll need much more support around him against the Tigers. The Aggies did a good job of keeping back-line standouts Eddy Caballero and Carson Youman in check. It’ll serve Texas well if those two can have breakout games.

LSU will no doubt be the favorite in the fixture, but the Longhorns need only to look back at least year’s game to generate some confidence heading into the match. The Tigers did end up running away with a 34-0 win last year, but few teams played the Red River Champions as tough as Texas did. The Longhorns enjoyed plenty of possession during the game’s opening half and went into halftime trailing just 5-0. LSU would, however, run the legs off Texas and pile on five tries in the contest’s final 25 minutes.

Texas A&M vs. Houston
The Aggies have an opportunity to jump out to a 2-0 start in conference play under Friday night lights in College Station, Texas,. against Houston.

The two teams are coming off opposite results from last week’s four-match slate out of the Red River. The Aggies managed to handle Texas easily, 37-5, while the Cougars couldn’t keep up with TCU on their way to a 41-22 defeat.

Unsurprisingly, All-Conference loose forward Braeden Hood had an excellent game for Texas A&M. After years of getting around the park as the team’s openside flanker, Hood donned the No. 8 jumper and looked very comfortable doing so – something that shouldn’t please opposing Red River teams.

While Hood ran wild in the forwards, Justin Brown was very good in the backs. The scrum half, who scored just one try all of last season, dotted down twice against Texas.

For the Cougars, the task at hand only gets tougher after losing by 19 points to the Horned Frogs. Houston can take pride in its ability to score four tries in its Red River debut, but will need to shore up its defensive structure and discipline in order to stay competitive with the Aggies. The 41 points given up last week was against the same TCU team that was held without a point against Oklahoma in September, and Houston’s three yellow cards prevented it from staying within arm’s distance of the Horned Frogs.