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Logan, Utah – The BYU Men’s Rugby team traveled north to Logan to play Utah State University on Saturday. The long travel day did not negatively affect the Cougars’ performance as they rolled to a 71-8 victory over an improving Utah State team.
The starting XV had some notable absences (lock James Mocke and flanker and vice-captain Tosh Wilcox both sat out due to minor ankle injuries) and one notable addition in senior center and USA Eagle Calvin Whiting who made his first appearance for BYU this season. It would prove to be a great day for Whiting as he scored two tries for the Cougars. He was able to showcase his punishing running style in the 17th minute of the match as he bowled over the Utah State fullback for his first try of the year. Whiting was very excited to be able to take the field again for BYU. “It felt awesome to be back out on the field with the boys again. It has been a good month of forming a solid foundation for us to build on. I’m really happy with the performance the team put on and felt that we did really well in playing selfless rugby.”
Senior lock Josh Harden and senior flanker Tyler Sorenson made their first starts of the season in place of Mocke and Wilcox respectively. Unfortunately, Sorenson’s day was cut short with a knee injury in the 20th minute of the first half. Tyler is doing well and will get x-rays and an MRI this week to determine the extent of the injury.
Harden was able to play the entire 80 minutes of the match and showcased a tireless work rate as he eagerly did the dirty work of a tight five forward. He put in many tackles and was very active in securing offensive possession in the rucks and showed well in his first start of his BYU career. Harden was honored to be able to start on Saturday. “Starting my first game for BYU was pure adrenaline. I felt prepared thanks to help from the coaching staff and my teammates, but being a new sport for me, there was definitely some nervous excitement. I’ve quickly come to love this sport and all my brothers on the team and I can’t wait to help fight for a national championship this year.”
The Cougars were tested late the second half with their first significant adversity of the year when reserve prop Josh Stott was yellow carded for not retreating ten meters on a penalty. Down to fourteen men, Utah State was relentless in their attack. Despite a spirited goal-line stand by BYU, Utah State’s reserve hooker was able to pick the ball from a ruck and dive over for the Aggies only try of the match.
In accordance with the philosophy of the coaching staff to use the Fall season to test new players, three Cougars made their season debuts versus Utah State. Senior wing Sam Roberts made his first appearance of the season as he came on in the 60th minute. Two other BYU reserves made their BYU debuts, freshman flanker Karl Magwood and freshman wing Everet Miller. Miller took the field in the 67th minute and showed his elite athleticism as he proceeded to score a try on this first touch of the ball. Miller’s try closed out the scoring on the day and BYU returned to Provo with a 71 to 8 victory.
The Cougars have a bye this week and will then host Utah State next Thursday (10/25) at Helaman Field at 7pm. The game on the 25th will be the first home game of the season for the team.
Scoring Summary –
Tries: Matua (12’), Miller (67’) Semu (4’, 52’), Parry, C (20’, 56’), Sorensen, K (40’), Webber, Z (22’, 27’), Whiting (17’, 47’)
Conversions: Parry, C (4’, 12’, 17’, 20’, 22’), Bigelow (47’, 52’, 56’)
Halftime Score: BYU 45, Utah State 3
Final Score: BYU 71, Utah State 8
BYU team vs Utah State:
1. Devon Anderson (Jacob Tai at 56’), 2. David Nonu, 3. Mike Payne (Josh Stott at 56’), 4. Josh Harden, 5. Ben Austin, 6. Tyler Sorenson (Joe Palazzo at 20’), 7. Seen Tarawhiti, 8. Kevin Sorensen-VC (Karl Magwood at 67’), 9. Kingston Matua (Dylan Parry at 53’), 10. Zach Webber-C (Ezias Bigelow at 27’), 11. Coleman Meier (Everet Miller at 65’), 12. Cole Semu, 13. Calvin Whiting, 14. Ben Webber (Sam Roberts at 60’), 15. Connor Parry