Rugby Closes Undefeated Fall Season With 65-0 Win Over Texas
JONESBORO – Strong defensive play helped Arkansas State University defeat the University of Texas, 65-0, in the Red Wolves’ final game of the fall season in collegiate rugby Saturday afternoon at Curt Huckaby Field. A-State finished the fall season with an unbeaten 5-0 record.
In addition to battling a tough Longhorn team, A-State had to face a hefty crosswind throughout a game that included a 30-minute lightning delay and rain.
“When it’s windy like it was today, we are restricted,” said head coach Blake White. “We normally play wide, but we couldn’t line up wide against Texas. Our guys did a good job, though, adjusting to the conditions.”
The Red Wolves jumped to a 29-0 lead early in the game with a pair of successful tries by Christian Schulze, and one each from Asa Carter and George Sharpe.
With lightning and impending rain prior to the close of the opening half, play was halted for a half hour. Once the quick cold front moved through leaving sunny skies, but a cold blustery wind, play resumed with the second period.
Zach Young scored the first of his two tries early, followed by Jake Ray and Sam Ross. Brandon Rokela and Calvin Gentry closed out the scoring for the Red Wolves to clos out scoring on the day. Due to the wind, conversion attempts by Rokela and Brock Roper were hit-and-miss throughout the game.
Despite the weather conditions, White was pleased with A-State’s defensive play, noting that Valentin Balande “played well. He helped to keep the attack structured and just played well all-around.” White also mentioned the tackling by Young. “Our defense at times turned the game into offense, which was really impactful,” White continued.
The first-year head coach was happy with his team’s overall performance throughout the fall season. “The guys really responded to what we’re doing as a team,” said White. “We need to take some time off now to get some guys back for the spring. In all, we had 15 injuries, and we should get most of those back for the spring which is the main part of our season.”
White said the team would take some time for holidays and final examinations to close out the semester. Following the Thanksgiving break, players will begin a workout program for spring preparations.
Arkansas State will open the 2018 season Feb. 3 with a trip to Marietta, Ga., to play long-time foe Life University.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” White concluded.