D1A Weekend Recap: Week 5

D1A Rugby: D1A Weekend Recap: Week 5
Photo Credit: Army-West Point
Now that the October 15th playoff deadline has passed, the second half of fall play is heating up with top D1A teams making late pushes in their respective divisions.
Out of the Rocky Mountain Conference, No. 17 Air Force and No. 18 Colorado State picked up key wins. Both teams stand at 3-0 in the conference standings, and are on a collision course for their head-to-head matchup at Colorado State on October 21st. Over the weekend, Air Force dominated Wyoming 69-18 behind three tries from senior 8-man Jason Kyles while Colorado State, facing its in-state rival Colorado, captured a 45-3 victory.

A few teams playing non-conference matchups added wins to their resumes, with No. 11 Utah taking down New Mexico 52-28 and No. 13 Notre Dame College beating out American International College 36-22. AIC battled back after being down 24-5 early, and took advantage of a Notre Dame College yellow card to bring it to 24-22 before Notre Dame stormed back at full strength with two tries in the final 10 minutes.

Along with Notre Dame College, several Rugby East teams were in action. In a conference matchup and high scoring affair, No. 6 Penn State battled Wheeling Jesuit and won 74-47. While still undefeated Penn State sits atop Rugby East, next week’s matchup between the next two teams in the conference, No. 10 Army and No. 12 Kutztown, will reveal who has the best shot to dethrone the Nittany Lions.

Army, who will face Penn State on October 28th, built some momentum by pulling out a strong road win against top Liberty Conference foe Iona. In this budding east coast rivalry, Army showed resilience battling back from 10-0 to take the lead, while relying on their defense to hold in the final minutes. For Iona, a just-missed chance to make a statement against a top 10 opponent left them hopeful but a bit disappointed.

“We fought hard and we had our chances, but we just didn’t convert at times,” Iona head coach Bruce McLane said following the loss. “We know Army is tough and physical and they showed up ready to hit today. Someone had to lose and this time it was us.”