- Mid-South battle of Top-7 clubs ends in a great game, with Lindenwood overriding Arkansas State for the victory
- Cal handily defeats UCLA in Berkeley in the ‘Battle of the Bears’
- Arizona back on the winning track after beating a tough and formerly undefeated Grand Canyon side
- Blowouts in the Red River lead to a top heavy conference
- California Conference matchups end in a tie between SDSU and UCSB, and in the FTFNext live broadcasted game, Cal Poly take down SCUTS
#7 Arkansas State fell to #3 Lindenwood in their home opener this past weekend 38-20. This game was dominated by the Missouri side’s strong forward pack, who were solid in the scrum but also scored five of the six team tries on the day. Lock, Emmanuel Albert, scored two tries for Lindenwood himself, including one in the final play of the first half. Lindenwood are now 5-0 in D1A this season while Arkansas State stand at 0-1. The Lions have looked dangerous this year, and may be able to challenge Life for the Mid-South conference championship.
#2 Cal hosted #17 UCLA in both teams’ first conference game of the year. Despite not scoring in the first half, UCLA were able stay in the game through their strong defense, as they limited Cal to just 12 points in the first half. The two first half tries were scored by Cal locks Max Murphy and Sebastian Bader. Once the second half started Cal returned to their high scoring ways, as they scored seven tries across the remainder of the game. Three of those tries came from reserve inside center Keanu Andradae, who came on the pitch with 29 minutes left in the match. Winger Marcus Shankland also contributed with two tries of his own in the second half to help push the Golden Bears to a 59-7 win. UCLA’s lone try came via inside center Connor Bercik in the 65th minute.
In this week’s lone crossover match two dominant Arizona sides faced off in Phoenix, as #14 Arizona hosted the #20 Grand Canyon University side. Arizona got out to an early lead as winger Kyle Fulton scored in the 2nd minute of the match. After a successful conversion Arizona was up 7-0, before GCU capitalized on two penalties, converting each to bring the score to 7-6. Arizona would cross the white line one more time before the end of the half, as outside center Lucas Bartzis dotted down to widen the score to 12-6. The Wildcats would go on to shutout GCU for the first 38 minutes of the second half, while growing their lead to 25-6. GCU would go on to score in the dying seconds of the match to bring the final, 25-13 in favor fo the Wildcats.
In the Red River conference, #24 Texas A&M shutout Texas Tech 71-0 at home. The Aggie flankers dominated this match, as they played stellar defense and scored a combined six tries in the match. Openside flanker William Green scored four tries, including a first half hat trick, while blindside flanker Kade Ball contributed with two tries of his own. Six different players combined to score 11 tries for the Aggies. After yet another dominant performance, Texas A&M appear to be the favorites to win the Red River conference.
One team who may still be able to challenge Texas A&M is Oklahoma, who hosted Texas this past weekend. The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 57-3. Mostly off the backs of strong performances from winger Zackary Raines, who scored three tries in the match, eight-man Robert Ogilvie, and lock Cullen Gordon who scored two apiece. Oklahoma now sits in second place at 4-0, right behind Texas A&M who are in first in the standings at 5-0.
Rounding out the action in the Red River conference was North Texas at Baylor. North Texas held a 21-7 lead over Baylor through halftime, but had to fight off a comeback in the second half as Baylor outscored North Texas 12-10. In the end, North Texas held on to win 31-19 in a competitive over a solid Baylor side.
In the California conference, San Diego State and UC Santa Barbara faced off in a thrilling match that came down to the wire. Despite UCSB scoring first in the match via winger Jordan Rackmil, San Diego State would hold the lead going into half time 17-5, after both eight-man Brett Pickler and fullback Jake Vassar scored to put the Aztecs ahead. SDSU faltered in the second half, allowing UCSB to mount a comeback and score three tries from flanker Brady Berryhill, lock Nelson Kappas, and reserve forward Gio Gutierrez. UCSB was ahead 20-17 after the last try, but the Aztecs were able to tie the score at 20 each after successfully converting a penalty kick in the 75th minute. After the final whistle had blown, the game ended in a 20-20 draw.
Elsewhere in the California conference Cal Poly beat Santa Clara 39-13 for the FTFNext live broadcasted Match of the Week. The Mustangs needed the win after receiving three losses in their first few games of the new year. Santa Clara was just above them in standings until the two teams met in the Bay Area.