BOULDER, Colo. – There will be two matches played in the West this Halloween, as No. 4 Utah plays host to No. 17 Air Force and Wyoming welcomes No. 19 Colorado. This year’s West has played out much different than last year, and a big reason for that is due to the addition of Utah – an Independent last season. This dominant side has gone undefeated so far, and looks to keep that going. While the rest of the conference chases to catch up to the Utes, Utah has its eyes set on the West Championship.
No. 4 Utah vs. No. 17 Air Force
This will be the first time these two face as West sides, and will be the only chance for Air Force to defend their championship.
Utah has been playing incredible rugby against West opposition this season, putting up 60-plus points in the two matches it’s played. Center Taylor Thomas scored two tries in the match against Colorado, and one against Wyoming, and will need to continue to contribute in this next match for Utah to be successful.
Air Force won its last match against Colorado, 22-20, but let up a big lead in the last 20 minutes to let the Buffs back into it. Air Force needs to play a full match against Utah if it wants to have a chance at beating one of the best teams in the nation.
The Zoomies are not new to playing some of the top teams in the nation, playing Army and Lindenwood last season and Navy this season. They have an idea of how well they have to play in order to overcome such highly-ranked opponents, and will need to play that way this weekend. They will also have to come back and play No. 8 Army next Friday. It is going to be a hard week for the Falcons.
Wyoming vs. No. 19 Colorado
Wyoming is entering this weekend after a 30-point loss to Colorado State, a side that Colorado was able to handle. The Cowboys struggled tackling the Rams, as they let players break through their defensive lines for easy tries. They can hit, but tackling is a point in which Wyoming needs to focus.
A strong point of Wyoming is their center, Cody Jerabek. Jerabek is able to turn on the jets on the outside, which resulted in two tries against Colorado State last weekend. The Buffs do have a good center of their own in Rhys Watkin, whose good tackling will try to negate the speed of Jerabek.
Colorado also has a big pack, which Wyoming will struggle trying to contain, as well as crafty young scrum half Evan Clark. If the Buffs are able to utilize the size of their pack, and get the ball to Clark in good positions, they will have a good day.
Colorado will need to win and get the bonus point to put some cushion between it and Air Force in the standings. It also needs to win to keep D1A playoff dreams alive, so expect a big showing out of the Buffaloes this weekend.