Week 20 Preview: Titanic Battles Lined Up

D1A Rugby: Week 20 Preview: Titanic Battles Lined Up
Photo Credit: Davey Wilson

Four of the top five teams in the country take to the field this weekend, including one Top Five matchup and another Top 10. It’s going to be an exciting week of action.

Mid-South play continues with a slightly different feel to it this weekend. #5 Arkansas State will be traveling out to #1 Life, in the hopes of repeating their upset efforts from last weekend. Last week they were led by their outstanding inside Mazvitaieshe Nyamarebvu who scored two early tries to set the platform for the Red Wolves. They will again turn to him, as well as flyhalf Dylan Boast, who is starting to come into his own and emerge as one of the best halves in the country. Life will be no easy task and have more than enough talent stacked in both the pack and line to match with the Red Wolves. With the likes of Brian Mutanga, Ryan Rees, Mitch Wilson this game is shaping up to be one of the most exciting of the season. #7 Lindenwood come back to the field this weekend against Clemson. The Lions will be anxious to make a mends for the loss last weekend- they will be looking to leaders on the team, such as Christian Rodriguez and Wesley White, to help the rebound.

The other massive game taking place this weekend sees two of the most storied teams in college rugby face off, with #3 Saint Mary’s College hosting #6 BYU. Both teams have had incredible seasons so far. BYU made light work of the Rocky Mountain conference, scoring 470 points in six games, while only conceding 17. Outside center, Calvin Whiting and fullback Connor Parry were at the forefront of their dominant run in the fall and likely will be the focus of their attacking efforts once more this spring. For Saint Mary’s they have been equally as impressive, scoring 397 points in five games and conceding 10 points. It’s sure to be an exciting game and one with plenty of scoring. Their affairs last year high scoring and kept fans on the edge of their seat. Expect this installment to be no different.

The only independent team to take the pitch this weekend will be #14 Central Washington, as they take on Utah State. Utah State is coming off a series of tough losses and Central Washington looks to add to their woes, as they continue their push to the post season.

In the California Conference both San Diego State and UC Davis will be on the prowl for their second win of the season. After slow starts to the year for both teams, they seem to have found their stride last games with wins over UC Santa Barbara Santa Clara, respectively. A strong showing by either team here could help propel them back into consideration for the Top 20, as they both have flirted with the rankings.

#2 Cal will take on Cal Poly in a PAC – California Conference crossover. Cal has been on another level to all of their competition this year, winning all of their games by over 100 points without ever conceding a point. They are a team on a mission, and Cal Poly will have to be playing at the best of their abilities to avoid, a fate similar to the rest Cal’s opponents.

In PAC play, a rivalry game will take place, as #10 Arizona meets Arizona State. Arizona has been playing at a high standard so far this season and will look to continue their efforts this round. Arizona State has been riddled with inconsistency. They were able to pull off a major upset in beating Utah, but were then unable to keep pace with Cal. Arizona will know to be wary of their opposition, as they do not want to suffer the same result as Utah.

In the Red River, with the championship decided last weekend, teams will now be jockeying for position. Arkansas will host Texas Tech, and look to close out the regular season strong ahead of their third place playoff game next weekend. Texas will go to Baylor, where the Bears will be preparing for their match against Arkansas next weekend. Texas A&M will have their final hit out of the season against LSU, in what should be routine matchup for them, before facing Oklahoma in the Championship match next weekend.