Week 7 Preview: Local Rivalries Spark Up

D1A Rugby: Week 7 Preview: Local Rivalries Spark Up
Photo Credit: Clemson Rugby Facebook Page
After the wild ride that was last weekend, it’s always going to be hard act to follow but this weekend might be able to eclipse what we saw last round. There are big games in every conference and teams continue to push for their spot as conference champions.

The round started last night, as Iona took on AIC and took one step further towards wrapping up their spot as divisional champions of Liberty’s I-95 . It was a comprehensive performance from the Gaels, who got up 50-19. The first half was slow, as the teams were locked in a tug of war 19-8 after 40 minutes. Most of the damage was done by Watson Filikitonga who bagged four tries on the night. They will face Penn State next weekend, in an out of conference game.

#5 Penn State, before taking on Iona, will have to go through #11 Kutztown. This will be a tightly contested affair and will likely take the full eighty to settle. Kutztown put the competition on notice last weekend when they took down the #14 Notre Dame College Falcons, who up until then had been experiencing a strong start to the fall. Penn State won’t be too concerned, as they too have been enjoying a hot streak to begin the season. Points will come at a premium for both teams and it promises to be an enthralling game. The other Big East game will see #6 Army take on Wheeling Jesuit, in what should be a routine outing for Army.

In the Big Ten #16 Indiana, Ohio State will be the marquee matchup of their competition. Both teams have started the season slower than expected, but they will be seeing Saturday’s game as the perfect opportunity to turn it all around. This will be the best chance either team has of salvaging their hopes for any post season glory. #17 Wisconsin, who beat Indiana last weekend, will face Minnesota, and they will hope to keep their winning streak alive and well. Michigan State will take on Purdue, both teams have surprised many with how competitive they’ve been so far, this season, and will hope to continue their excellent form this weekend. The final game will see Michigan take on Illinois.

Navy will play their first Mid-South competition game when they host Clemson. There shouldn’t be too many surprises coming from this game, but it will be interesting to see how Navy adjusts to the rigors of their new conference.

Down South in the Red River, Texas will look to get their season back on track after a rough start. The Longhorns have been outscored 3-101 in competition play so far, this year. On Saturday, they will have a chance to bounce back against Baylor. It won’t be easy as Baylor have been the preeminent force in the Red River for the last two years. Oklahoma will look to build from last week’s win against the Longhorns, when they take on Texas Tech.

In the Rocky Mountains competition continues to heat up as the Colorado based teams and BYU play some high-quality rugby. Colorado State and Air Force is always an exhilarating match and this weekend will be no exception. Both teams have experienced ups and downs through the season, but have been competitive in every match. The last time these two met it was a 14-10 win for the Rams. Expect points to be hard to come by and hits to be big. BYU takes on Utah State; and Colorado will play New Mexico.

Teams in the Liberty conference will continue to jockey for positions on the ladder. Syracuse and Binghamton will be the biggest game of the weekend, as they both sit at 3-0. The winner will likely win the division. They have a strong history of close and intense matches this will be no different. In other games, UMass will look to continue their domination of New England when they play Rhode Island; while Boston College will try to keep up with them when they play UConn. Brockport will take on Oswego in an upstate New York battle; Stony Brook faces Delaware, and Cortland will play Colgate.