When the dust from the stampede finally settled, it was clear that the Wyoming Cowboys were grateful that the Utes were headed back home. There was little doubt in this match who the strong side was as the Utes relentlessly drove the ball across the try line. Utah started the match with two quick tries and by the time all was said and done, three Utes would end up with hat tricks on this blustery Saturday afternoon. Utah, who has been much improved this season with its passing, struggled a bit in the wind to keep things crisp and Wyoming tried to put point on the board early with a penalty kick, but could not convert. Wyoming did manage a try just before the close of the first half but the aggressive Utes come out strong in the second half with points off of turnovers remaining a dominant theme of the match. Coach Rob Rendell remarks that "we had a rough start but were able to pick it up and finish well", might have been the understatement of the afternoon. Dillon "pickle" James, Caleb and Gabe Ruflin all had hat tricks to lead the scoring barrage, with Dillon being designated the Utah Federal Credit Union Warrior of the match. The match closed out the fall 15's matches and the Utes will now prepare for Pac-12 7's tournament and spring rugby.
On a beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon the Utes rugby team punished the Utah State Aggies for their efforts. The match was a lopsided affair from the start. Though it started out slowly with both sides testing each other and Utah State threatening to open the scoring early, the Ute side settled in and rattled off 21 points before the Aggies could notch 3 points as they choose to take points on a Ute penalty near their own 22.
The second half was a repeat of the first though the Aggies were able to take advantage of a particular Ute line up where, with no one deep, the Aggies were able to make the Utes miss on some fancy footwork and sprint 50 meters for their first and only try of the match. In the end however they were no match for the Ute side with solid play in both the forwards and the backs, strong rucks, and aggressive defense took advantage of a weaker Aggie side. Play was capped by a sensational play in the middle of the 2nd half when Alex Egan jumped a pass and sprinted 22 meters for his 2nd try of the match.
The only downside to the day was the announcement that Coach Law will not be continuing as the Utah Head Coach. Coach announced after the game that he will be leaving rugby after more than 20 yrs to pursue more time with family. We wish Coach Law all the best in every endeavour. He will forever be remembered for his efforts, determination and success. We wish him well.
The Utes look to conclude their fall schedule this coming Saturday Against Wyoming.
The Rumble in the Rockies had a one-sided feel to it as the Utes cruised past Colorado 52-22. Colorado proved to be aggressive in the rucks and gave the Utes a challenge to get a clean ball, but overall the Utah side proved too much for the Buffs. Kelsin Pupunu, game day captain mussed after the match, "It was a hard-fought game with good play from both sides and showed us some places that we can improve upon. But overall, satisfied with the win."
The Utes were not without their challenges though, only 18 traveled with the Utah side and at times it showed as Colorado was able to put more points on the board then perhaps they should have. Coach Law, remarked "so while giving up 22 was a bit of a disappointment, the team performed very well. Given the circumstances, our grit and toughness were on display."
At a key point in the match, Ezequiel Eze Garcia, received a clearing kick from the Buffs and raced up the sideline, cutting back across the defense and with a nice stiff arm was able to get within one man of a try, yet keep the presence of mind for a nice offload to Caleb Meyer and 5 points. Turnovers also proved a difference-maker as Utah had Colorado deep in their own 22 and forced a Colorado turnover. With a quick series of pick and go's, Ray Reed pushed his way across the line for the try.
The team returns home next week to face their brothers from the north in Utah State. Game time is 1:00 PM at McCarthey Field. See you there and GO UTES!