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Provo, UT – The BYU Men's Rugby team hosted the Colorado State Rams in the final of the Rocky Mountain Rugby Conference on November 17th at South Field and came away with a 96-6 victory. With the victory, BYU receives an automatic bid in the D1A Rugby play-offs in the spring.
On the day, BYU ran in a total of 14 tries with ten Cougars crossing the try line. The scoring began two minutes into the contest with lock James Mocke scoring on a tight run off the ruck. Mocke added another try seven minutes later on an inside pass from scrumhalf Kingston Matua. The CSU defense was eager to stop the BYU forwards and over pursued leaving the channel next to the ruck open. Mocke ran a hard line, received the pass and, after a strong 20-meter run, carried two Ram defenders into the try zone.
The tough sideline conversion was pushed just to the left by center Calvin Whiting, but that would be the only blemish on Whiting’s kicking record as he and reserve back Ezias Bigelow combined to convert 13 of 14 BYU tries. Whiting also added his third try of the fall season and led all Cougar scorers with 29 points on the day.
On the ensuing kick-off, the Rams pinned the Cougars deep in the BYU end of the field. CSU threatened to score for the next five minutes and their constant pressure was rewarded as BYU was called for not rolling away in the tackle. CSU opted to go for the penalty kick. The kick was good which put the score at 19-3.
The following eight minutes were marked by both teams committing multiple handling and kicking errors with neither side gaining the upper hand. In the 23rd minute CSU was able to move the ball wide inside BYU’s half, but a tackle by prop Mike Payne and a strong counter-ruck from Whiting turned the ball over for the Cougars. After the turnover, Matua noticed the CSU wing was out of position and kicked a box kick that was misplayed by the retreating CSU wing. Pursuing hard on the play, BYU wing Coleman Meier was able to toe the ball through the defense and regather the ball then make a quick pass to the supporting fullback Connor Parry who ran the last ten meters and scored the try. The conversion was made by Whiting and that pushed the score to 26-3.
CSU again tested the BYU defense off the kick-off and were able to play in BYU’s half of the field and sustain pressure on the Cougar defense. The Rams were again awarded a penalty in the ruck as a BYU defender was called for losing his feet in the ruck. CSU made the penalty kick to regain some momentum and put the score at 26-6.
Attempting to capitalize on the momentum they had created, CSU decided to maintain possession inside their half rather than kick the ball ahead to gain territory. BYU’s defense held firm for multiple phases and Mocke forced a turnover in the ruck. The Cougars immediately exploited the turnover and moved the ball wide to Meier who scored in the corner.
Meier scored his second try of the day minutes later. Matua pushed across the field and disrupted a Rams back move which resulted in a loose ball that Meier kicked ahead then regathered. He was able to turn on the speed and run the remaining 20 meters for the try. Whiting again converted the try and closed out the first half scoring. The Cougars led the Rams 40-6 at halftime.
BYU came out strong in the second half and after a CSU lineout, flanker and vice-captain Tosh Wilcox ripped the ball away from a CSU player. Center Cole Semu recovered the ball and the Cougars showed patience as they ran their offensive pattern through eight phases until the Ram defense cracked and Matua was able to pick the ball at the ruck and dive over for the Cougars’ first try of the half.
CSU continued to show determination in defense, frustrating multiple BYU attacks in the ensuing ten minutes. However, offensively the Rams were unable to breach the BYU defense and handling errors and errant passes plagued the Rams in their bid to get back into the game.
In the 51st minute the Rams had a scrum in their half and the Cougars were able to again put pressure on the CSU scrum. The strong Cougar shove resulted in a stolen scrum and eightman Ben Austin scooped up the ball and was able to gain ten meters before being tackled by the CSU defense. After a strong run from Mocke, Austin regained the ball on the next phase and deftly passed to Payne on his outside and the senior prop dove over for the try.
On the following kick-off, CSU put themselves under immediate pressure as the Ram kicker kicked the ball straight out of bounds, resulting in a BYU offensive scrum at mid-field. BYU won the scrum easily, but an errant pass by the BYU backs gave the ball back to the Rams. The BYU defense again pressured the Rams and Mocke was able to force a penalty for the Cougars in the ruck. BYU kicked for the corner and after the line-out flyhalf and captain Ben Webber fed Whiting on a powerful run through the middle of the Ram defense. Whiting was stopped just short of the try line and flanker Seen Tarawhiti was able to grab the ball and gain the final meter to score again for the Cougars.
The Cougars again showed their attacking prowess off of the kick-off as Wilcox burst through the Ram defense and ran 60 meters before passing to Tarawhiti who was stopped ten meters short of the line. On the following phase, Payne took the pass from Matua and ran through two defenders before touching down for his second try of the game. Minutes later BYU pinned CSU deep in their end and on a CSU scrum the BYU forwards asserted their dominance by again stealing the ball. Austin picked up the ball and easily crossed the line for the try. After the Whiting conversion the score was pushed to 75-6.
The Rams threatened after the kick-off, but the ball was turned over after an errant pass. BYU kicked ahead, and the CSU fullback returned the kick, but the Rams did not effectively chase the kick. This left a staggered defensive line and Parry was able to cut through the Rams defense and run 80 meters before passing to the supporting Wilcox who was rewarded with the score.
Ten minutes later, Wilcox scored his second try of the game. After a BYU turnover, reserve scrumhalf Ezias Bigelow chipped a box kick over the Rams defense and Wilcox outran the retreating Ram defenders and fell on the ball in the try zone.
BYU rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute. After a strong tackle and counter-ruck from reserve wing Porter Thomas, BYU won the ball. Bigelow again utilized the box kick to attack the out-of-position CSU backs. The kick was not fielded cleanly by the Rams back and was regathered by Wilcox who passed the ball to the streaking Bigelow who just beat the covering CSU defender to the line to score the final BYU try. Bigelow converted his own score, completing a convincing 96 to 6 victory over CSU.
The win secured the Cougars the Rocky Mountain Conference championship and an automatic bid to the D1A play-offs this coming spring.
Scoring Summary -
Tries - Mocke (2’, 9’), Whiting (6’), Parry (23’), Meier (32’, 38’), Matua (42’), Payne (51’, 57’), Tarawhiti (54’), Austin (61’), Wilcox (66’, 75’), Bigelow (80’)
Conversions - Whiting (2’, 6’, 23’, 32’, 38’, 42’, 51’, 54’, 57’, 61’, 66’, 75’), Bigelow (80’)
Halftime Score - BYU 40, Colorado State 6
Final Score - BYU 96, Colorado State 6
BYU team vs Air Force -
1. Devon Anderson (17 Steven Nonu at 51’), 2. David Nonu (19 Josh Stott at 66’), 3. Mike Payne (16 Jacob Tai at 62’), 4. Josh Harden, 5. James Mocke (18 Joe Palazzo at 62’), 6. Seen Tarawhiti, 7. Tosh Wilcox-VC, 8. Ben Austin, 9. Kingston Matua (22 Ezias Bigelow at 62’), 10. Zach Webber-C, 11. Coleman Meier (23 Everet Miller at 62’), 12. Cole Semu (21 Isaiah Taliulu at 57’), 13. Calvin Whiting, 14. Ben Webber (20 Porter Thomas at 57’), 15. Connor Parry