Week 3 Preview: Monster matchups battle for conference supremacy

D1A Rugby: Week 3 Preview: Monster matchups battle for conference supremacy
Photo Credit: Oswego Wizards IG - @oswegowizards
  • D1A Conference match breakdowns
  • Weekly preview with notable game mentions
  • All matchups listed across the weekend

As rugby followers, fans, and players, the majority clammer for big hits, highlighting tries, and classic matchups to see which toughest teams survive on the other side of the whistle. This weekend certainly does not shy away from those yearning feelings, the masses possess. Some of the biggest ranked matches of the year will commence in the following days, and be prepared for some serious head-turning, quite possibly (dare to say) huge upsets amongst rivals clubs.

EARLY MATCH

Teeing up this chaotic and exciting weekend is Stony Brook traveling into New York for the Friday night early matchup against Fordham on the 20th.  Fordham is coming off their huge 55 point differential win and will be looking to continue that trend against a highly-capable Stony Brook side that is coming off an interstate tournament outside of divisional play.

EAST

As the turn of the Autumn Solstice is upon us, many games are underway but highlighted is the Match of the Week, which includes two scorching hot Top-7 clubs that have yet to lose this season.  #5 Navy will travel to Pennsylvania in lieu of their big win, hoping to duplicate their previous outcome, against the rising #7 Kutztown. This match could be filled with potential All-Americans, future MLR and USA professional players. And if you’re within driving range of Kutzown, PA, the recommendation is very strong in bringing a fold-up chair, filling up the gas tank, buying snacks, and hitting the road to catch this epic game.

The remaining matches are all explosive clubs vying for a shot at King of the Conference. #14 Notre Dame College will be looking to avenge their incredibly narrow defeat to Penn State the previous week, by proving themselves against a solid #13 St. Bonaventure club. The Bonnies are coming off fresh legs with a ‘semi-bye’ week while hosting their annual alumni event this past weekend. Both these Top-14 clubs are hungry, talented, and ready to take on any challenge head-on. Another top ranked inter-conference clash commencing this weekend is, #9 Army traveling into New Rochelle, NY to face conference foe, #18 Iona. This is a particularly important victory sought out in this matchup, in lieu of both clubs coming off tough defeats to, equally tough, opponents. Iona will have the home-field advantage, but this will be a daunting task ahead to take on a Golden Knight side that is known for their innate ability to overcome obstacles in their path.

The final East game of the weekend is Mary Washington on the road versus #8 Penn State. After seeing the Notre Dame College side almost come away with a win against the Nittany Lions last week, Mary Washington will be looking to take advantage of every opportunity they can in order to find themselves in the top of the conference talks. Penn State will be sure to not repeat the same mistakes they made against NDC, and be sure to expect a roaring effort with the physicality to match in order to hopefully knock off this feisty Mary Washington side.

BIG-10

With the Big-10 conference in full swing as well, unranked Michigan State had a statement of a game against Illinois, coming back to win the game by 1 point. They will be honing in the momentum off that slim victory and carrying it into Madison to face off against Wisconsin. This is a tough matchup to call, but as all Big-10 teams know, this is an incredibly competitive conference with anyone able to win, any weekend. Michigan will take on the up-trending Minnesota side in Minneapolis, for another up-in-the-air conference showdown. The Gophers will be sure to build all the pathways underneath the Michigan defensive scheme, but as we all know, the Wolverines are known to sniff out any attack and aggressively counter their opponents. Watch out for potentially exciting finish to this solid matchup. And finishing up the conference games are On The Bubble Indiana vs Illinois, and #19 Ohio State vs Purdue. Illinois & Purdue will both be looking to move forward form their narrow defeats, and taking on club sides that are currently contending for the top spot in the Big-10 conference. This conference could contain the biggest upsets and shakeups of the season, and will fun to follow for the remainder of the year.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN

Only two games will commence within the Rocky Mountain Conference with Air Force on the road facing off with On The Bubble Utah Valley, and Colorado with its first in-season match of the year versus New Mexico in Albequerque. Air Force is in wake of their convincing victory against the Lobos previously, but will have their hands full with a stalwart side in Utah Valley. UVU is intending on increasing their chances of cracking the Top-20, and will have to do so against a valiant Air Force club. Colorado will travel out of state to face New Mexico, but have a distinct advantage with the freshest legs of the entire conference. The Lobos will be looking to rebound from their last week’s defeat, and continue onward and upward.

Credit: Bill Castle Photography – Air Force vs New Mexico

LIBERTY

As per usual, Liberty Conference will host the largest number of matches this upcoming weekend, counting exactly eight to look forward to. Multiple tough games will all launch this Saturday at 1:00PM EDT, local time. The most notable matchups for potential conference supremacy are: Cortland at Syracuse, Buffalo at Binghamton, and TUFTS at UCONN. All of these teams are currently undefeated in conference, and with the victors of each game getting a step closer to top of the table. Syracuse is the lone two-win club, but will be quite busy in suppressing a Cortland side who shutout their previous opponent, Colgate. Buffalo, in their first match of the season, put on 47 points in a convincing win over Albany weeks ago, and will have fresh legs to continue this potentially brutal offensive attack against an incredibly vigorous Binghamton side. TUFTS and UCONN are both undefeated still, only because this is their first games of the season, and will be looking to add some crucial win, and possible bonus, points in their opening season kickoffs.

ALL MATCHUPS ACROSS THE WEEKEND:

Friday, September 20th

  • Stony Brook @ Fordham – 7:30 PM EDT

Saturday, September 21st

  • #14 Notre Dame College @ #13 St Bonaventure – 1:00 PM CDT
  • #5 Navy @ #7 Kutztown – 1:00 PM EDT
  • #9 Army @ #18 Iona – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Mary Washington @ #8 Penn State – 1:00 PM CDT
  • Illinois @ Indiana – 1:00 PM CDT
  • Michigan @ Minnesota – 1:00 PM CDT
  • Michigan St @ Wisconsin – 1:00 PM CDT
  • #19 Ohio State @ Purdue – 1:00 PM CDT
  • Air Force @ Utah Valley – 1:00 PM MDT
  • Colorado @ New Mexico – 1:00 PM MDT
  • Rhode Island @ Boston College – 1:00 PM EDT
  • UMASS @ Fairfield – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Albany @ Oswego – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Buffalo @ Binghamton – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Brockport @ Colgate – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Cortland @ Syracuse – 1:00 PM EDT
  • Tufts @ UCONN – 1:00 PM EDT
  • AIC @ Rutgers – 1:00 PM EDT