No Joy in Happy Valley
Posted Sunday March 18, 2018
On Saturday the Buffalo Rugby Club traveled to State College, PA to play Penn State, currently ranked #8 among D1 colleges in the USA. Originally two matches were to be played but Penn State was short of eligible players and asked for 3 x 40 minute periods. As it turned out, even with BRC adding 4 guests to its ranks, the club did not have 2 full sides as several players were no shows. So the 3 x 40 minute periods seemed appropriate. The day for BRC was in two words, not good. In the first 40 minutes, things started well for Buffalo as they controlled the ball and moved down field. After a few phases, the referee called the first of over 2 dozen penalties for "not supporting your body weight" and Chris Wells knocked over the PK to give Buffalo a 3-0 lead. But from then on it was all Penn State, as they rang up 52 unanswered points. Period # 1- 52-3, Penn State.
Both teams left their starters on for the beginning of the second 40 minutes. Once again BRC started well and off a lineout from 10 meters out, Mike Dean ran over defenders to score a try giving BRC a 5-0 for period #2. However, the pattern from period #1 was repeated and Penn State score 32 unanswered points.
Period #2- 32-5, Penn State. During the second 20 minutes of the period both teams brought on numerous subs who played the third 40 minute period.
Period #3 was pretty much the same as periods #1 and #2 with Penn State controlling play and scoring 22 points. Period #3- 22-0, Penn State.
In must be noted that both teams struggled understand the referee's calls. Many times a team was penalized for "bridging" even though there was no contest for the ball, thus the game was bogged down and became a test of kicks for touch and subsequent line-outs. That said, Penn State was clearly the better team and, perhaps, the best team Buffalo has played in many years. The Buffalo players know they must do much better and improve quickly if they have any hope of advancing in the EGU play-offs that begin in a month.