Week 9 Recap: Conference and Divisional Champions Crowned

D1A Rugby: Week 9 Recap: Conference and Divisional Champions Crowned
Photo Credit: Visions by Antoinette

Looking at the schedule Week 9 was always going to be a monumental round for D1A’s Fall season, and the action across the country did not disappoint. Conference and divisional champions were crowned and teams were able to get their seasons back on track.

With the Rugby East season entering its last few weeks of league play, teams were looking to move up in their leagues rankings. In the matchup of the week #5 Penn State travelled to take on #6 Army. In a shock result, The Black Knights not only beat Penn State, but shut them out 31-0. With this huge win, Army clinches first place in their division as they swept their division with a bonus point win in every game they’ve played this year. Penn State, lost their first league game of the year, but look poised to claim second place in Rugby East. In other Rugby East action Wheeling Jesuit secured their first win of their league season, defeating Buffalo, 34-7.

The Big Ten was in their last week of action, with three important games still slated to be played. Ohio State secured the Big Ten regular season crown, as they beat Michigan 51-5. They will now meet Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship match. Michigan State travelled to take on Indiana. The Spartans fell to the Hoosiers, 43 -7, on the road. Minnesota hosted an Illinois team looking to avoid going winless in league play this year. Despite sporting an 0-4 record in league play going into the game, Illinois had played some good rugby this year and had been able to keep pace with almost every team they have played. Illinois was finally able to get their first win in their league, as they defeated Minnesota 55-14.

#16 Davenport hosted #15 Notre Dame College this week for a close match between two evenly matched sides. After 50 minutes Davenport had the lead ahead of NDC, by way of three tries, two of which were from fullback Ralph Tirivanhu. Despite being behind 19-10 in the second half, NDC were able to rally back and score 24 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes of the game, to win 34-19. This win should give Notre Dame College some confidence as they return for their final league game against St. Bonaventure next week.

The University of Notre Dame continued their independent D1A schedule against their toughest opponent yet, #8 Navy. Navy silenced the Fighting Irish, limiting them to a single try in their loss. Navy were lead in their win by lock Philip Dalke and flanker Michael Galvan, both of whom scored two tries.

In the Liberty Conference, many teams played their last league games of the season. Syracuse prevailed in horrible weather 22-14 in a hard-fought game against Colgate. The hammerheads swept their division this year and won their first divisional title since joining the Liberty Conference. Syracuse weren’t the only team to secure a divisional title in the Liberty Conference, UMASS beat Boston College, 24-7, and as a result clinched the New England divison. The Minutemen are 6-1 on the year, with their sole loss coming to #13 Iona.  Speaking of the Gaels, they remained undefeated in league play as they beat Delaware 22-12. The win created enough of a buffer between themselves and the rest of the I-95 division, that they will not be caught in race for the divisional crown. With a win over Rutgers this weekend, Iona will, for the second year in a row, have won the I-95 without dropping a game in divisional play. In other games,  Tufts was shutout by Northeastern, 57-0; AIC shutout Stony Brook, 80-0; Fairfield beat Fordham, 38-28; Albany were shutout by Binghamton, 43-0; and Brockport finished their season 0-6 after being shutout by Cortland, 18-0.

In Red River action Oklahoma took over possession of 1st place in the North conference after their win over Texas Tech, 32-24. Arkansas remained undefeated in league play this year, thrashing North Texas at home, 97-29. Texas won their first league game of the season after they beat LSU, 22-19.

The Rocky Mountain division continued this week, with Utah State traveling to #7 BYU on Thursday. Utah State continued to struggle against BYU, losing 80-3. BYU winger Ben Webber lead the Cougars with three tries on the day; while Utah State fly half Jeffrey Clark kicked Utah State’s lone three points. In other Rocky Mountain action, Air Force beat New Mexico on the road 65-27. This now places Air Force in a tight race with Colorado State for first place in the Southeast conference of the Rocky Mountain division.