This weekend in rugby seemed to be characterized by one thing, wet weather. As players and spectators alike attempt to ward off the onslaught of winter, many turned out to cheer D1A favorites.
For the Big Ten, the match to watch this weekend was clearly Ohio State vs Michigan and it certainly did not disappoint. Though the score says otherwise, a closely fought contest ultimately had a clear victor, Michigan. With a 34-13 win over Ohio State, Michigan is now second in the conference behind Indiana. The two teams have yet to battle it out on the pitch, and may not do so until the Big Ten Championships. Check out our feature article for more on this match.
In true form, Indiana brought out a total sweep at their home pitch 96-0 against Iowa. The Hoosiers seem to have a secured spot at the top and are quite content in keeping it. Will they be able to maintain their can’t stop, won’t stop mentality?
Wisconsin overcame Illinois 31-19 on their home turf. Flyhalf Jordan Higinbottom led the team to a much-needed victory after a previous loss and a bye weekend. Flyhalf Matthew Ramsey scored nearly half of Illinois 19 points. Coming out of a tough loss against #13 ranked Wisconsin, Illinois will need to shape up in order to be hopeful for a win in their homecoming match against Minnesota.
In their last home match of the season, Minnesota Gophers came out triumphant over Purdue University. A final score of 49-25 saw successes by all, though most notably by the skillful placement of kicks by Minnesota wing Nick Hermann and scrumhalf Jack Butterfield. Not only did kicks support the Gophers in obtaining strong field positioning, it was the missed kicks and opportunities by Purdue that allowed for a strong lead heading into the half. Purdue was relentless until the final moments of the match. Minnesota was pinned back deep in their own half and pulled out some strong defense and a last connection to inside-center Charlie Johnson for the final try of the match. Despite the win, it looks like Minnesota may stay relatively stagnant with this week’s ranking report.
In the East, Penn State overcame Wheeling Jesuit 23-17 to place the Nittany Lions back on track to dominance after a tough loss to Kutztown. Both teams managed to keep control of the ball in wet weather. Nothing like a little bit of mud rugby and a close game to round out a strong weekend of D1A rugby.
Keep your eyes posted for how these matches update the ranking weekly league standings.