BOULDER, Colo. – Penn State is back.
Sure, the Nittany Lions Men’s Rugby team was alleviated of its semester-long suspension a few months ago, but the team’s 30-6 win over No. 6 Davenport was Penn State’s statement to the rugby community that the Nittany Lions are indeed back.
In a non-conference showcase between two top-ten-ranked teams, Penn State’s defense kept Davenport from scoring a try, while receiving tries from Malcolm May, Joe Kelly, and Joe Corrado.
May, who scored two tries on the afternoon, was especially impactful for Penn State. The flanker is coming off of a summer that included a four-match tour of Argentina with the High School All-Americans. May was a standout on the tour, and seems to have continued his fine form into the fall.
Davenport, who could only muster two penalty kicks by center Sondai Adjei, ended last season ranked No. 5 in the D1A and returns a cupboard stocked full of talented and experienced players. The complete team effort put in by Penn State should say more about the Nittany Lions’ chances of knocking off Kutztown to win Rugby East than it says about Davenport being less competitive than the Panthers were last year.
Now in the midst of a two-match slide, Davenport turns its sights on Bowling Green, whom the Panthers will face on the road Saturday, Sept. 20. Penn State will have to turn the page on this win immediately, as the Nittany Lions begin Rugby East play against No. 5 Army this Saturday.
Wheeling Jesuit 24-5 West Virginia
USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American Peter Malcolm forced his way into the try zone twice as Jesuit revenged a loss from last spring by defeating West Virginia.
Kutztown 62-0 Buffalo
Kutztown wasted no time in introducing Buffalo to the physical and skilled play the Bulls will see in their inaugural Rugby East season. The boys from Buffalo played hard for 80 minutes, but Kutztown’s talented roster – both young and old – was just too much for the former Empire Conference school.
Iona 36-24 St. Bonaventure
Iona surprised just about everyone and ruined St. Bonaventure’s grand opening of their new rugby pitch by dominating the first 40 minutes of play and holding onto a 36-24 win. Iona’s balanced attack saw six Gaels dot down to help guide a complete turnaround of results from last season when the Bonnies hammered Iona 90-5. The game was not an official Rugby East match, as the two will meet again in a conference match Oct. 18.
Army 49-0 Cornell
West Point shut out an inferior Cornell team. A second-half hat trick by David Huff helped inflate Army’s lead, while Logan Pearce tallied 14 points.
Lindenwood 19-14 Palmer
A win versus a quality Men’s Division I club side is always a positive. But for Lindenwood, a team looking to improve on a 2013-14 season that ended in D1A’s Semifinals, Head Coach JD Stephenson knows there is plenty of room for improvement.
Big 10 Universities
Ohio State dropped a back-and-forth affair against Bowling Green, 31-29. There are sure to be positives to be pulled from the Buckeyes’ loss considering Bowling Green will once again be in the DIAA National Championship picture. Elsewhere, Michigan State and Indiana won non-conference matches ahead of Big 10 play, but Minnesota continued to struggle in a loss to St. John’s.
Ohio State 29-31 Bowling Green
Michigan State 34-17 Pittsburg
Minnesota 20-27 St. John’s
Indiana 33-7 Kentucky
Oklahoma 61-27 Oklahoma City Crusaders
The Sooners wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a dominating performance over the Crusaders. Widely considered the favorites to win the Red River going into the fall, back-to-back wins over Missouri and the Crusaders have only strengthened that opinion.