Provo, UT- The Central Washington Wildcats proved to be a resilient, physical opponent as the Brigham Young University Cougars battled for a challenging 58-27 win at BYU's South Field on Saturday, March 5, 2016.
"We expected a tough game from Central Washington which we handled well," said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth. "We did well in our set pieces and continuity game in the first half. We finished the first half better than we have in the last two games."
The Cougars had to overcome a rough start as the Wildcats made to penalty kicks in a row within the first five minutes of play putting the Wildcats up by six points. It wasn't till the 8th minute of the match that the Cougars got on the score board thanks to a try from BYU sophomore winger Kevin Schofield. BYU sophomore center Calvin Whiting's conversion was no good allowing the Wildcats to keep their 6-5 lead.
BYU scored its second try of the match as junior fullback Ryan Blaser scored a try off a Jared Whippy assist. Whiting's conversion was good giving the Cougars a 12-6 lead in the 11th minute. Eight minutes later, Whiting capitalized on a CWU penalty adding another three points to the score board for BYU increasing BYU's lead to 15-6. Despite being awarded another penalty kick in the twenty 23rd minute, Whiting missed. Two minutes later, CWU missed its penalty kick due to a Cougar infringement.
After a consistent attacking phase by the Cougars, BYU's Jonny Layne fought his way to a try after being lifted off his feet by a CWU defender in the 27th minute. Whiting's conversion changed the score to 22-6 in BYU's favor. Five minutes later, BYU's Ricky T. scored BYU's fourth try of the game. A completed conversion by Whiting increased BYU's lead to 29-6.
BYU's Schofield scored his second try of the day with two minutes left to play in the first half. Schofield's five points plus Whiting's conversion widened the scoring gap between the Wildcats and the Cougars to 36-6. Despite a strong finish by the Cougars in the first half, the Cougars did not appear ready for the resilience of the Wildcats in the second half.
"We took our foot off the gas and got lazy," Smyth said of a rough second half against the Wildcats. "The Wildcats came out hard which we knew they would and were able to score. I was fairly disappointed, but we were able to get it together as a team during the last ten minutes and increase our lead."
In the 45th minute, Whiting sent a penalty kick through the uprights increasing BYU's lead to 39-6. Although Whiting was able to add another three points to the score board, BYU's defense was not able to hold its ground. Several missed tackles by the Cougars led to 21 consecutive points scored by the Wildcats leaving the Cougars with a much more narrow lead of 39-27.
Nineteen minutes after Whiting's penalty kick, Blaser scored his second try of the match off a Jared Whippy assist in the 64th minute against the Wildcats which helped the Cougars regain their momentum. Whiting's conversion was good giving the Cougars another seven points and a 46-27 lead. BYU junior lock Matt Jensen scored a try at in the 73rd minute off another Jared Whippy assist, but Whiting missed the conversion leaving the Cougars with a 51-27 lead. The Cougars put the game away with a try by Schofield in the 80th minute. Whiting's conversion helped the Cougars finish 58-27 over the Wildcats.
"We were getting tired, but we had to play our game," said Schofield who scored his third try in the last minute of the match.
Schofield was one of five Cougars who scored tries against CWU thanks to strategic passing and on-field leadership from BYU's Jared Whippy and Luke Mocke.
"The first twenty minutes, there weren't any super stars," Smyth said. "Everyone went through a patch of mediocrity. But Jared Whippy started to control the game at number 10. Zach Webber played well at number 12 and Calvin Whiting did well at 13. Schofield also did well adding three tries for us. There are still areas where we need to do work and stay hungry for 80 minutes."
Next up for the Cougars will be St. Mary's on March 12, 2016 at BYU's South Field in Provo. Kick off is set for 1:00 p.m.
1. Zane Mendenhall (61' Logan Nye for Mendenhall blood; Mendehall reentered match at 65')
2. Alex Vorster
3. Ricky T. (74' Logan Nye)
4. Matt Jensen
5. Jonny Layne (64' Jeff Ott)
6. Jackson Kaka
7. Ara Elkington (41' Nic Purcell)
8. Joe Pikula
9. Luke Mocke (74' Joseph Nicholls)
10. Jared Whippy
11. Joshua Anderson
12. Zach Webber
13. Calvin Whiting
14. Kevin Schofield
15. Ryan Blaser
3' Central Washington University penalty kick 3
5' CWU PK 3
8' Kevin Schofield 5
11' Ryan Blaser 5, Calvin Whiting 2
19' Whiting 3
27' Jonny Layne 5, Whiting 2
32' Ricky T. 5, Whiting 2
38' Schofield 5, Whiting 2
Half-time BYU 36 CWU 6
45' Whiting 3
50' CWU 5, 2
55' CWU 5, 2
57' CWU 5, 2
64' Blaser 5, Whiting 2
73' Matt Jensen 5
80' Schofield 5, Whiting 2
Final BYU 58 CWU 27