Rugby gets 2 wins in Colorado

By By Kelsey Price

By Kelsey Price

Utah upsets University of Colorado

The U rugby team traveled to Colorado last weekend for its sole road trip of the season and returned home with two wins over ranked opponents.

The Utes found themselves trailing against No. 2 Colorado 15-10 at halftime on Friday. A flustered Ute defense struggled against the Buffalo offense, led by CU wing Luke Lahman.

However, the second half turned in the Utes’ favor, with Utah scoring 24 points to upset Colorado 34-15.

“We came out slow and missed a lot of tackles,” said head coach Blake Burdette. “But I was pleased to see what the guys did in the second half. They played with heart.”

Slow starts have plagued the Utes all season. Against No. 14 Air Force, Utah was unable to score in the first 20 minutes, and against Washington State, which the Utes trounced 78-5, only 26 of Utah’s 78 points were scored in the first half.

Despite struggling in the first half against CU, the Utes shut out the Buffaloes’ offense the second half. In the latter half of the game, the Utes’ defense8212;led by flanker Danny James8212;kept the Buffaloes constricted to their own half of the field.

Utah only allowed three phases8212;similar to a play in football8212;on its side of the field from Colorado’s offense in the second half.

“The second half, as with other games this season, really turned in our favor,” said junior wing Ryan Bailey, who led the Utes on scoring.

The Utes capitalized on mistakes made by the Buffalo defense, allowing the Utes’ offense to break through the Buffalo defensive line. CU struggled to recover the ball after some huge runs from Utah.

The combination of a breakthrough offense and stifling defense in the second half gave the Utes the win.

Utes gain second victory against Colorado State

After a win over CU the night before, Utah came out looking a little sluggish in the opening minutes of play against No. 8 Colorado State on Saturday. However, the Utah offense soon put up try after try, beating CSU 50-17.

“We controlled field position pretty well, were patient and didn’t try to play out of our own end,” said assistant coach Jason Pye.

For the Utes, patience and playing the ball wide have proved to be key assets for the team this season. When Utah played Washington State earlier this season, wide runs were essential to the Utes’ domination.

Scrum half Don Pati and center Hayden McMullin controlled the pace of the Utes’ offense against the Rams, setting up much of the team’s phases and making key breakaway during both halves. Bailey and fellow wing Blake Miller led the back row8212;similar to the midfield in soccer8212;in scoring most of the Utes’ points.

“We came out, stuck to our system, and were able to move the ball and just had fun doing it,” Miller said.

Undefeated and No. 3-ranked Utah (5-0) will wrap up fall season this Saturday against in-state rivals Utah State and Weber. Kick-off against the Aggies is at 11 a.m. The game against the Wildcats is expected to begin at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at Baliff Field.

Because of the construction on HPER, Baliff Road will be closed. Parking can be accessed on Austin Road.