Week 21 Recap: Oklahoma Secures Playoff Berth

D1A Rugby: Week 21 Recap: Oklahoma Secures Playoff Berth
Photo Credit: Owen Maat

Week 21 was a massive weekend for playoff implications, with the Red River Championship providing one automatic qualifier and plenty of other pivotal conference matchups.

The Red River Rugby Conference crowned a new champion this weekend, with Oklahoma beating Texas A&M 20-15. Oklahoma opened the game with a try in the first minutes of the game, putting them up early 5-0, and were able to score another try and penalty kick shortly before halftime to lead 13-0. Texas A&M scored three tries in the second half to take the lead from Oklahoma, and led 15-13 with two minutes left. Oklahoma was able to seal the win with a try at the death to win, finishing 20-15 over Texas A&M.

Oklahoma coach Doug Neubauer was expecting a disciplined and well coached Texas A&M side to challenge his side this weekend, and knew that winning the Red River Conference wouldn’t be easy “Texas A&M is a solid program and we knew they wouldn’t quit. They never gave up and kept coming at us. I think our team kind of let the 13 point lead go to our heads just as A&M doubled down on their work rate and allowed them back in the game.”

Oklahoma turned the ball over a lot in the second half, allowing Texas A&M to push their way back into the game. Oklahoma was led by Captain Logan Ronan, as well as the rest of his teammates from the back row. Oklahoma’s scrum was also crucial in their win, as it won two against the head at crucial points in the game.

With the win, Coach Neubauer was happy to see the improvements his team has made and can continue to make going forward “what we have been working on for the past 4 years after a complete rebuild of the team is working. We have room for improvement but, we are headed in the right direction.”

In other Red River action, Baylor beat Arkansas 53-26 in the Red River conference’s third place game.

#1 Life took on #6 Lindenwood in the Mid-South conference, winning 22-11. Harley Wheeler scored twice for Life in the first half, helping Life lead 19-3 at half time. While Lindenwood were able to outscore Life in the second half, it was not enough to avoid losing their second game of the year; while Life remains undefeated this year. Elsewhere in the Mid-South conference, #5 Arkansas State beat Clemson 50-12, with lock Asa Carter leading the way for Arkansas State with two tries on the day.

Out west #10 Arizona beat #20 UCLA in PAC action 35-24, while in the California conference Santa Clara beat UC Santa Barbara 30-13, and #3 Saint Mary’s shutout San Diego State 116-0. In the win, St. Mary’s had ten different players score, including reserve winger Diego Vasquez. Vasquez came on at half time and scored three tries in the second half.