BOULDER, Colo. – LSU took commanding control of the race for the Red River title after beating previously-undefeated Oklahoma, 43-12. In other conference action, Baylor had little trouble in its 42-7 win over Texas Tech, and TCU and Texas battled to a 24-all tie in Fort Worth, Texas.
LSU 43 – 12 Oklahoma
Both Oklahoma and LSU entered their Feb. 20 contest undefeated. The Sooners sat atop the Red River standings with four wins to their name, while LSU had only two wins, but impressed enough during nonconference play to earn Canterbury’s No. 16 ranking.
Coming off a try-scoring performance in LSU’s shutout of Texas, winger Aidan Elias scored his first of two tries to put his team ahead, 7-0. Soon after the Tigers got on the scoreboard, Sooner fly half David Wallace dotted down for the fourth time in as many games, and converted his own try to knot the match at seven-all.
A tied ball game quickly went the way of a rout as LSU’s defense suffocated Oklahoma over the next 60 minutes.
“Our team’s defensive performance was exactly where we intended it to be,” said fly half Cameron Troxler. “We as a team pride ourselves on our defense, and seeing the guy next to you fly up and attempt to make a tackle behind the gain line motivates us to want to do our part, as well.”
The Tiger attack was ferocious, too. Troxler and prop Christian Brower found the try zone in the first half to help build a 22-7 halftime lead. In the second half, wingers Trevor O’Neil and Elias restarted the offense with tries, and Troxler added his second before all was said and done.
“We were able to put Oklahoma under continuous pressure throughout the majority of the match,” Troxler added. “We were able to do this because of the preparation we had going into this match, and the conditioning that helped us to keep up the pressure for the majority of the match.”
Alec Miller did his part to continually put space between his team and the Sooners. The full back was lethal from the kicking tee, slotting five out of six of his conversion opportunities, and added a penalty goal for 13 points.
The Tigers remain at home next week when they face Texas Tech Feb. 27, and Oklahoma is off this weekend before getting back on the pitch against Southwest Rugby Conference Champion North Texas March 5.
TCU 24 – 24 Texas
The Longhorns jumped out to a 10-0 advantage against TCU after just 10 minutes, but momentum soon went the way of the Horned Frogs.
Center Nick Larsen and wing Caelan Freeman scored first-half tries and Dillon Thiele converted both. In the second half, Thiele scored his fourth try of the season and knocked through his third conversion of the day for a 21-10 lead.
Texas broke a 55-minute scoreless period with a converted try to bring its deficit to just four points. A Thiele penalty saw TCU back up to a seven-point lead and gave the scrum half 14 points on the afternoon with just seven minutes remaining in the match.
The Horned Frogs appeared to be on their way to a second conference victory when the Longhorns managed to score a third try and add the equalizing conversion. Neither team could record any last-minute points, and the result was D1A Rugby’s first tie of the season, 24-24.
The tie was a quality result for a Texas team that was shutout by LSU in its previous outing, but the Longhorns will be hungry for their first win of the season when they face Baylor Feb. 27 on the road. TCU’s next match is also against Baylor, but not until March 19.
Baylor 42 – 7 Texas Tech
Baylor and Texas Tech had both displayed some inconsistent performances up to their fixture against one another. The Bears opened conference play looking quite formidable in a 21-14 loss to Oklahoma, but followed the spirited effort with a lackluster loss to Texas A&M. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, began the season by downing Texas easily, but were rolled by TCU just seven days later.
The road trip to Lubbock did not hinder the opening exchanges of the game for Baylor. The Bears were sparked by tries from captain Pete Hamm and the back three trio of Erriton Fuller, Pernell Greenidge, and Dan Robertson to command a 26-0 lead at the intermission.
Texas Tech remained under pressure throughout the second frame, allowing Baylor to add 16 points to its lead while only mustering one try of its own.
Baylor will look to win its second consecutive game this coming weekend against Texas, while the Red Raiders are forced on the road in an attempt to knock off LSU Feb. 27.