Week 17 Preview

D1A Rugby: Week 17 Preview
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Photo (homepage): Steve Zomberg

BOULDER, Colo. – The Allied Rugby Conference is back in action after two weeks off from conference matches. The ARC stayed busy by playing several non-conference matches the last few weeks, but the now the stakes get higher – especially for Baylor. Elsewhere, Life and Colorado look to expand leads in their respective conferences.

Allied Rugby Conference

Baylor vs. Texas A&M

Baylor is in a must-win situation this Saturday against the Aggies. The Bears are currently second in the ARC standings just behind a Texas Tech team that is idle this weekend. Baylor was thrashed by Army on Tuesday 79-5, and that very same Army team plays Texas A&M on Thursday night. It would not be surprising if Aggie’s Head Coach Brett Mills sits a few starters against West Point to ensure his team is rested well enough to face a tough Baylor team.

Oklahoma vs. Sam Houston

Oklahoma, like Baylor, must win-out in the ARC. Oklahoma is currently looking up to both Baylor and Tech, but has two games remaining as compared to Baylor and Tech’s single remaining match. Sam Houston is not expected to give the Sooners too much resistance. Should Oklahoma take care of business on Saturday against the Bearkats, next week’s matchup between Oklahoma and Texas Tech could decide who will move on to the ARC’s April 5 Conference Championship game.

Mid-South

Davenport vs. Life

The matchup pins the Mid-South’s only winless team versus the conference’s only undefeated team. Davenport is physically strong and well coached, so they won’t be backing down from Life. Still, the Running Eagles are strong in all areas, and have Joe Cowley’s boot to bail them out of trouble when the team is not playing its best.

West

Colorado vs. Air Force

In a Friday afternoon match at Glendale’s Infinity Park, Colorado has an opportunity to increase its lead in the West. Air Force was tripped up by the Cowboys during its visit to Wyoming last week, so anticipate Coach Joe Muehlbauer’s club to be motivated to get back to its winning ways and above .500 against the Buffaloes. Colorado is 2-0, but both wins required a try in the final minutes to avoid being on the losing end of close matches. This match should be another tight one for the Buffs.

California

Saint Mary’s vs. UC Davis

Saint Mary’s beat UC Santa Barbara 97-7 last week, and a similar final line can be expected against Davis. Only a select number of teams in the country can keep up the Gaels and Davis is not one of them.

Non-conference matches

Penn State vs. Navy

Penn State and Navy are very familiar with one another, and the match should be compelling. Based on its early results from 2014, Navy looks to be even stronger than usual this season. With wins over Dartmouth and Wheeling Jesuit, as well as a 38-3 beat down of Kutztown, Penn State may have its hands full. The Nittany Lions have not been on the pitch all too often in 2014, and that could spell doom against this strong Navy squad.

Army vs. Texas A&M

West Point wraps up its Texas tour with a Friday night match against Texas A&M. The cadets have played very well thus far in Texas with wins over University of Texas and Baylor by a combined score of 120-10. Even though A&M is Army’s third opponent in a week, Army looks hungry and won’t be slowed by attrition. Look for West point to handle A&M and crack the Top 20 rankings next week.

Wheeling Jesuit vs. West Virginia

This match was originally set for March 17, but was postponed due to weather. Wheeling Jesuit fared pretty well playing stiff competition in the fall, so the Cardinals should handle West Virginia fairly easily.

Lindenwood vs. Chicago Lions

The Lindenwood Lions refuse to take an off week as Head Coach JD Stephenson has scheduled a tough opponent in Men’s DI Club team the Chicago Lions in the midst of the Mid-South season. Lindenwood will be resting a number of starters to better prepare the team for the second half of the physically challenging Mid-South.


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