Rugby goes 1-1 at Berkeley, knocked out in NCAAs

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

After an ugly start at Berkeley, Calif., in the Round of 16, the Utes were able to end their season on a somewhat high note. Utah rebounded from a 47-5 pounding from the LSU Tigers in its Round of 16 game, and beat the Bowling Green Falcons in the Pool C consolation game, 29-17.

Utah’s first game against the LSU Tigers was never much of a contest. The Utes found themselves down 22-0 at the main break, after a very physical first half. Utah might have been a bit too aggressive, however, as two of its players received yellow cards during the game. The second half would end up being much of the same, as the Tigers wound up outscoring the Utes eight tries to one when the final whistle blew. Utah got its lone try in at the 44-minute mark by sophomore Chase Jardine, making the score 22-5. LSU put the game back out of reach, as it responded with eight points of its own before the 70-minute mark, with a 3-point kick by Saade Bou-Mikael and a try by Sam Wills. LSU was led by Robert Johns on the game, who had a pair of tries toward the final minutes. The score could have also been much more lopsided considering LSU only made two kicks after its eight tries.

LSU figured to be one of Utah’s tougher matches as the No. 3 seed Tigers had only lost one game the entire season, and went through the Texas Conference with an undefeated record. The Tigers’ lone loss of the season was against Arkansas State, all the way back in October.

Utah was able to get something good out of the trip to the national playoffs in the next game, when they came from behind to defeat the Bowling Green Falcons, 29-17. In the first half, it appeared Utah was in for another long day as Bowling Green went up 12-0 in the first 30 minutes and appeared well in control of the game until Utah’s Bryce Jenkins scored a try at the 32-minute mark to make the score 12-5. The Falcons would get one more try before the first half would come to an end, making the score 17-5 at the end of the first half.

Utah made its move in the game at the 50-minute mark. Still down 17-5, Utah went on a 19-point scoring spree in the next 10 minutes, to take its first lead of the game at 24-17. Mike Kimball would strike first at the 50-minute mark with his only try of the game, while Zach Taylor would get two tries, one at the 54-minute mark and the last at the 60-mintue mark. Danny Christesen got two conversions in those three tries. Mike Harman would score Utah’s last try at the 69-minute mark, sealing the deal for the Utes in the consolation game.

With only four seniors on the roster this year, the rugby team still has an opportunity to build off the experience.

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