Rams ground Air Force, Buffs hold off Aggies

D1A Rugby: Rams ground Air Force, Buffs hold off Aggies
Photo Credit: Ed Navarro

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Colorado State nailed down its second win over a top-10 team this season over Air Force, and Colorado picked up its first West victory by beating Utah State at home, 28-21.

Colorado State 30 – 26 Air Force
Just as the they did in Salt Lake City against Utah last month, the first-place Rams went on the road and beat a team ranked in the top half of the D1A Rugby Top 20 – this time at the United States Air Force Academy.

The game was close throughout with both teams scoring unconverted tries in the first six minutes of the contest. Colorado State regained the lead in the 11th minute thanks to a Joel Conzelmann penalty kick.

The Rams increased their lead to 15-5 when Connor Henneberry got over the line, but Air Force closed the lead to just three points when All-Conference lock Grigor Kerdikoshvili converted his own try with 10 minutes left to play in the opening half.

The Rams would, however, get the final laugh of the first half thanks to Ryan Nedbailo’s try.

The Zoomies would punch back just six minutes into the second half. Full back Casey Rothstein dotted down and Kerdikoshvili’s successful conversion made it a 20-19 ballgame in favor of the Rams.

Colorado State pushed its lead back to eight points when Nedbailo scored his second try of the day. Air Force continued to keep pace with the Rams – this time in the form of Mitchell Cochell’s first try of the season.

With two minutes remaining in the match and clinging to a one-point lead, Conzelmann showed great poise and awareness by splitting the uprights with a drop goal to effectively seal Colorado State’s win, 30-26.

 

Colorado 28 – 21 Utah State
A week after a second-half collapse cost Colorado its West opener against Colorado State, the Buffaloes survived a late comeback by Utah State to earn their first conference win of the season.

Colorado went into the halftime break leading, 14-0, after full back Nick Sinclair and winger Caleb Marks found the try zone, and Jared Reich was able to convert both scores.

Utah State played inside Colorado’s half in the opening phases of the second half and was rewarded with a Marty Johnson try to split the Buffs’ lead in half, 14-7. The home team was able to respond with two quick tries – one by prop Grayson Jones and one from wing Ben Hirschman to push the lead to 28-7 and seemingly put the game out of reach with a little more than 20 minutes remaining. The Aggies, however, had plans of a comeback.

First, reserve prop Elijah Toa went over the try line and Conner Peterson followed suit four minutes later. Inside center Jeff Clark converted both tries and made the match a one-score game, 28-21, with five minutes remaining on the clock.

Utah State managed to work the ball into Colorado territory, but an Aggie knock on would sound the final whistle, and the Buffs escaped with the seven-point win.


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