Week 21 Preview: Red River Championship Headlines Blockbuster Week

D1A Rugby: Week 21 Preview: Red River Championship Headlines Blockbuster Week
Photo Credit: University of Oklahoma Rugby Instagram

Going into the final weekend of February, the tensions and the pressure are starting to rise as teams know time is running out for their playoff pushes.

Headlining this weekend is the Red River Championship match between, defending Red River Champion, Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma. Both teams enter this weekend with a 7-1 record, each team’s loss came at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Aggies have been led by their backs, in particular the likes of Jeremy Brown and Ross Navaro. Both of these players possess lethal skills and can break the game open from anywhere on the field. The Sooners, will be feeling confident in their abilities with their center field runners, Vincent Fairburn who wears the 12 jersey and Robert Ogilvie who acts as a utility playing where ever he’s put. With Oklahoma’s bruising runners, it will act as an interesting contrast to Texas A&M’s style of play. The other matches will see Arkansas take on Baylor for third place, North Texas and LSU will play for 5th place and Texas and Texas Tech will face off for 7th.

Outside of the Red River Championships, there are plenty of outstanding matchups. The pick of the bunch comes from #1 Life taking on #6 Lindenwood. This fixture has traditionally determined who would win the Mid-South. Lindenwood has already lost a game this season, which means they’ll be more motivated than ever to beat Life and push the competition back into a three way race between Life, Lindenwood and Arkansas State. The other game taking place in the Mid-South will see the Clemson Tigers take on #5 Arkansas State.

The PAC has a blockbuster game for themselves this weekend, as #20 UCLA will take the trip down to Tucson to take on the #10 Arizona Wildcats. Both teams have been excellent through the Spring and are yet to drop a game. Arizona has scored 268 points in their first four games in 2019, while only conceding 30. UCLA’s numbers aren’t of the same magnitude, but they have been just as impressive averaging just shy of 45 points a contest and conceding 13 points a game. It will be a tough ask for UCLA to enter Tucson and come away with a win, but they will be more than up to the challenge.

Three games are taking place in the California Conference, with #3 Saint Mary’s hosting traditional rival San Diego State. UC Santa Barbara will look for their first win on the year against a Santa Clara side reeling after a tough 73 point loss to Grand Canyon last weekend. The final match will see UC Davis and Cal Poly go toe to toe. UC Davis, after a slow start to the season are starting to come into their own and really make a late season push.

The final game of the weekend will see Grand Canyon take on instate rival Arizona State. The Lopes, after a tough loss to Arizona- where they faded away in the final 20 minutes- have come out swinging in the California conference and sit at 3-0, sharing the conference lead with Saint Mary’s. They will face an Arizona State side, who started the season off with much promise; but since have struggled to rekindle the form they enjoyed in the opening round. Grand Canyon will be favored heading into the match, but they know the Sun Devils are not to be taken lightly.