The 2016 Big Ten season ended November 14th in exciting fashion. Michigan State and Purdue got the matches underway in Elkhart, IN in a rematch of the two teams’ regular season bout that ended 22-8 in favor of Michigan State. The Boilermakers bested the Spartans this time around in the 7th place playoff with a score of 27-17.
Illinois took 5th place over Minnesota, defeating the Gophers 34-15. Later on in the day, Wisconsin matched their dominant 2015 performance against Michigan and beat the Wolverines 43-10 to finish third in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Ohio State-B played Indiana-B on the opposite field for the developmental side championship. The up and coming Buckeyes bested Indiana-B and defeated them 40-10.
This exciting day of rugby all led to the championship game. Our preview of the healthy Indiana and Ohio State rivalry during the developmental championship promised for a great final between Indiana and Ohio State.
The Hoosiers wasted no time and took control of the match early, scoring through Dakoda Worth’s break through try in the first few moments of the match. By the 15th minute, Ohio State put together strong phases of forward picks near the Indiana goal line to eventually work Matt Stauder across the try line. The unconverted Buckeye try made the score 14-5. Indiana soon made it clear that they were to govern the match through their high-powered offense led by fly half Teddy Terezis and a dynamic Hoosier backline. By the half, Indiana bagged a few more tries and Tyler Graham’s in the 30th minute made the score 34-5, matching the Hoosier points scored a year ago in Indiana’s 34-14 championship victory over Ohio State.
Ohio State, even with the benefit of a chance to regroup, could not find way to stop the Indiana offense. Veteran prop, Louis John Murray punched in Indiana’s next try right after half-time. The Hoosier’s scoring was continued by Takura Suzuki and Alex Dorrier, making the score in the one-sided affair Indiana 53, Ohio State 5. Senior winger Jake Hidalgo scored yet another Indiana try. With the ball spun wide from the base of a solid Hoosier scrum, Hidalgo did what he does best and beat the man in front of him on a 45 meter run.
With twenty minutes to play, Ohio State managed to score two back to back tries. Ohio State flanker Matt Stauder scored his second of the day and fellow loose forward Spencer Krueger scored the Buckeye’s third. Despite their efforts, Indiana had already caused too much damage and the score was still 60-19. Indiana senior Jake Garwood scored in his last match as a Hoosier. Indiana would produce one more try before the Big Ten championship was over. The final score in Elkhart was 72-19.
The Hoosiers defeated opponents by 60 or more points all season long, with the exception Wisconsin, who kept them to a score of 39-17 a few weeks ago, and Ohio State was no different. Indiana has now won back-to-back Big Ten Championships, their third in four years. The Hoosiers have proven to be the best rugby team in the Midwest. We can now look forward to how they will fair during the D1A playoffs in the coming months against some of the nation’s best teams.