Week 18 Recap: Teams Jockey For Conference Positioning

D1A Rugby: Week 18 Recap: Teams Jockey For Conference Positioning
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater

Top teams headed into Week 18 slated to play some of the, traditionally, strongest programs in the country. However,  despite the quality opposition, no upsets were registered.

#2 Cal played host to San Diego State, shutting out the Aztecs 120-0. Cal scored early and often in their lopsided victory over San Diego State, managing to score 74 points before halftime. 12 of the starting 15 players for Cal scored at some point in the match, with winger Sam Cusano leading the way with four tries on the day. Cal will look to continue their success into conference play next weekend against a resurgent Arizona State side.

In another lopsided preseason affair, #10 Arizona shutout Utah State 114-0. Arizona scrumhalf Jonah Eldridge led the Wildcat’s attack early on, and ended the first half with three tries to his name. Arizona tacked on the points towards the end, scoring 44 points in the final 25 minutes of the match. Arizona will take on Grand Canyon University next week.

Red River action saw Texas A&M shutout Texas Tech 48-0. Texas A&M offense was kept dormant for most of the first half, with the Aggies only managing to score ten points at half time. The second half was a completely different beast, however, as Texas A&M was able to score 38 points in the second half. Outside center Hunter Gates, and #8-man Simon Cormack scoring two tries each for the Aggies in the second half alone. With the win, Texas A&M secured first place in the southern division of the Red River conference, booking their spot in the title game. They will now await to see who their opponent from the North will be. In other Red River action, Oklahoma edged out a narrow win over North Texas 21-18, remaining in the North’s top spot; and Baylor beat LSU 50-26.

#20 Grand Canyon University started their brief tour of California off with a win against Cal Poly on Friday. #8-man Cameron Dobson scored twice for the antelope, helping lead GCU to a 32-21 win over Cal Poly. GCU followed up their solid performance against Cal Poly on Friday night, with a strong performance on Sunday against UC Santa Barbara. While UC Santa Barbra put up a strong defensive effort to start the game, GCU was able to break the defensive scoring in the 20th minute, through a try from flyhalf Brendon Curle. Prop Thomas Kitiona and Curle would both go on to score three tries each for GCU, helping the Lopes to a convincing 65-5 win over UC Santa Barbra. After GCU’s successful first weekend in the California Conference, they have proven themselves to be early threats to knock off the conference’s usual powerhouses. Elsewhere, UC Davis secured their first win of the season, against Santa Clara, 33-24.

#3 Lindenwood travelled to take on Texas in a preseason match up on Saturday. Lindenwood had no trouble putting away Texas, shutting them out and scoring 95 points on route to a blowout victory. Winger Tyren Al-Jiboori had a big day for Lindenwood, scoring four tries in the win. Prior to this Lindenwood landed a 33-5 victory against Texas A&M.

#4 Saint Mary’s played host to Utah Valley, fielding a predominantly B-side team vs Utah as their A-side played the Glendale U-23 side. St Mary’s B-side was able to hold a strong Utah Valley to a single try, defeating them 31-7.