STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Five try-scorers led the fifth-ranked Army West Point men’s rugby team to a 46-36 triumph over the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State under the lights Friday evening.
The victory marks the second consecutive win over a top-10 opponent for the Cadets who improve to 4-0 on the season, with a Rugby East-leading 20 points.
Penn State got an early jump, scoring a converted try in the 13th minute to take the 7-0 lead as the Black Knights played man-down following a yellow card to Thomas Del Pino.
Firstie Cameron Hargis scored his first of the evening in the 18th minute as the try was converted by Andrew Borer in his first start of the season. Hargis would dot down again just five minutes later, with Borer connecting on his second kick, to put Army up 14-7.
The Nittany Lions booted a penalty kick in the 28th minute to cut the Black Knights’ lead to just four but Del Pino would gain those points back with a penalty kick of his own 10 minutes later to put Army on top 17-10 heading into the half.
Vice-captain Jake Banarhall sparked his team in the opening minute of the second half with a try to put Army up 22-10.
Penn State answered just four minutes later, cutting the Black Knights lead to five.
Luke Huen found the try zone in the 51st minute of action but Penn State again rebounded, cutting the Army lead to just 27-24 through 57 minutes.
The defending Rugby East champions took control of the game as Andrew Irwin scored a try in the 63rd minute and Huff found a burst of speed down the far side in the 69th. Del Pino converted both scores to put the Cadets up 41-24.
The Nittany Lions would pull within 10 through 74 minutes but Huff’s second try of the evening sealed the victory as he dotted down in the 77th minute.
Penn State was able to find the try zone in stoppage time but it was not enough as Army walked away with the 46-36 win.
The victory was the first road win of the season for the Black Knights as they take to the road for the remainder of the season after playing three straight home contests to open the season.
Army will travel to West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 10 for its first meeting with the Mountaineers since they joined the Rugby East at the start of the season. The Mountaineers have yet to claim a victory in conference play and dropped a 79-5 decision to Penn State last weekend.