Nittany Lions shutout West Virginia in East opener

D1A Rugby: Nittany Lions shutout West Virginia in East opener
Photo Credit: Mimi Goodman

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Rugby East’s highest ranked team in the Preseason D1A Top 20, Penn State, opened conference play with a dominant 76-0 blanking of West Virginia at the West Campus Fields in State College, Pa.

It took the Nittany Lions just two minutes to put their first try on the board, and by the time each teams huddled for halftime Penn State held a commanding 43-0 lead.

“The conditions got to us a bit,” Penn State Head Coach Blake Burdette said. “I thought we got sloppy with the ball at times. But I am happy overall with the performance and thought we got better as a team.”

Wholesale changes did little to slow Penn State’s attack, as reserves did their part to continue to add to the team’s lead, and the Nittany Lions added 33 more points in the second frame. Penn State’s back three were especially potent, scoring half of the team’s 12 tries.

“That is what West Virginia gave us,” Burdette said of the production from the wing and full back positions. “We wanted to go wide because that is where we felt like the space would be and it was.”

Not to be overshadowed by the 76-point outburst offensively, Penn State held a Mountaineer team scoreless that was only shutout once in 2015.

“We played physical and stuck to our goal of keeping them out of the end zone,” added Burdette.

The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions are without a match this weekend, but return to the pitch Sept. 24 for another home game against Delaware. West Virginia will remain on the road to face another Top 20 squad, Army, Sept. 17.