Second-half burnout costs Utah victory

By Whitney O’Bannon, Staff Writer

A sloppy second half cost the Utah rugby team the Wasatch Cup and a loss against rival BYU, 59-15 on Saturday.

It was anybody’s game going into halftime as the Utes trailed BYU 24-15. Instead of making up those nine points, Utah could not manage to score in the second half while BYU continued to pour it on.

“In the second half, we just came out flat and the boys just didn’t stick to what we had talked about at halftime,” said head coach Blake Burdette.

Burdette told his players at halftime that they would win if they just kept up the intensity, but Utah played with less drive and failed to match BYU’s energy. The Cougars scored five times and were often given an advantage from Utah’s turnovers after the halfway point.

“We just started making mistakes that were very uncharacteristic of our team,” Burdette said. “Our whole game plan was to execute what we practiced all week, but we were trying silly things that we weren’t used to. They made us pay for our turnovers.”

After several missed tackles and mistakes that led to BYU points, the Utes got down on themselves and BYU capitalized on that.

Even with the blowout score, Utah was not demoralized by the loss.

“The score doesn’t reflect on how tight the game was,” Burdette said. “It looks like they are that much better than us, but they really weren’t. We just didn’t execute like we have in the past.”

Before losing to BYU, the Utes had won nine of their last 10 games and had not lost since playing Central Washington back in October. They now have a record of 15-3-1.

In a couple weeks, Utah has the chance to play BYU again and prove that they can match up against the No. 2 team.

“There were certain points of the game that we were better than them at,” Burdette said. “So if we can focus on those and make that more part of our game, I think we’ll do better against them.”

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