Key Red River matchups highlight first week of February

D1A Rugby: Key Red River matchups highlight first week of February
<p>Red River conference play continues to roll this weekend with three games slated for Saturday, Feb. 4. Among the matchups TCU and Texas look to capitalize in their first appearance of the season, while four others return in their second tilt of 2017.</p><p><strong>Arkansas vs. Oklahoma</strong></p><p>Both the Razorbacks and Sooners come in to this weekend having played once so far in January, and while Oklahoma <a href=””>holds a tally in the win column</a>, Arkansas looks to gain their first victory, as well as revenge.</p><p>The two teams met back in November, <a href=””>when Oklahoma pulled off a 48-25 win</a>. In that contest, a strong second half of offense surged the Sooners ahead for good, highlighted by a four-try performance by <a href=””>scrum half Manny Soto</a>. The freshman totaled seven tries in that matchup, and Razorbacks head coach Warren Fyfe was quick to note failing to contain Soto was a major setback among other things just a few months ago. On the other side, Sooner’s head coach Doug Neubauer knows it’s unlikely history will repeat itself.</p><p>“As far as takeaways we need to find a way to contain their scrumhalf who can be devastating if he gets going, and we need to be better defensively as a whole,” Fyfe said. “In attack we need to improve at set piece scrum and lineout and look after possession.”</p><p>“Knowing Arkansas and the success they have had in the past they will not overlook [Soto] this time,” Neubauer noted. “We will need to have many others step up this week.”</p><p><a href=””>In Arkansas’ previous game versus Baylor</a>, Fyfe added “I felt that the game was closer than the score reflected, and we had a couple of last minute illnesses and injuries that hurt us in the game.” Meanwhile, Arkansas gained the lead temporarily in the second half off of a successful try by Stuart Lasater before the Bears rallied tied and took the lead late in the game.</p><p>The Sooners meanwhile hit the road <a href=””>coming off of a 42-10 victory over Texas Tech </a>last weekend. An explosive second half, and an eight-try performance by the team contributed to the now third highest scoring offense in the conference. The team’s defensive efforts have also helped the Sooners hold the third lowest in points allowed as well. That, combined with a win this Saturday, would help keep Oklahoma at the top of the Red River with one game in hand over LSU, who remain hot on their tail.</p><p>“Our forwards were playing really well and that set us up for some good attacking rugby,” Neubauer added. “We are hoping to continue that, but after last week we have some work to do.”</p><p><strong>TCU vs. Texas Tech</strong></p><p>The Horned Frogs have yet to play in the New Year, having played their last <a href=””>game in November against LSU</a>. Cort Marley tallied the team’s lone score in the 80<sup>th</sup> minute of that game to avoid the shutout at home. Looking to hit the .500 mark in their fourth game of the season, TCU sets its eyes on Texas Tech, two teams that last saw each other nearly a year ago.</p><p><a href=””>TCU topped Tech in that contest 55-5</a>, the team’s first Red River conference win since joining the previous season. The Red Raiders meanwhile travel to Fort Worth after the loss to Oklahoma, with aim at securing their second win as well. Michael McCabe scored the team’s first points of the game in the 65<sup>th</sup> minute, far from the 34-31 thriller against the Sooners last fall that marked the team’s first win of the season.</p><p><strong>Texas vs. No. 20 LSU</strong></p><p>The Tigers look to stay undefeated on the road against Texas. In their last two games, LSU has outscored their opponents 191-5, with the only points against coming in the final moments in a victory over TCU in the fall. It was a similar story when these two teams last met back in October, where the Tigers topped the Longhorns 48-7 and lost the shutout in the waning minutes.</p><p>In last week’s win over Houston, senior fullback Alec Miller helped highlight the Tigers’ offense by tallying seven conversions and two tries. The team is hungry for a win not only to keep pace atop the conference, but in hopes in a rise<a href=””> in the D1A rankings</a>.</p><p>Texas’ last opponent was LSU in the fall, with Brandon Kveton scoring a try in the 78<sup>th</sup> minute and a successful conversion by Corin Wakefield moments later.</p>