BYU Takes Aim at National Title
BYU Rugby plays perhaps its biggest game in program history this Saturday.
The Cougars (15-0) face the 25-time national champion Cal Bears (26-0) in the first ever College Premier Division rugby national championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT.
The College Premier Division is newly created this year and consists of the upper-echelon of college programs in the nation.
Saturday’s game marks the sixth consecutive season that BYU and Cal, the country’s two most powerful college rugby programs, have faced each other in the national title game. The Cougars defeated the Bears to win the 2009 national championship, but are just 1-7 all-time against Cal.
This year’s title game is the first to be held in the state of Utah, a hotbed of rugby in the United States.
A large, pro-BYU crowd is expected to fill Rio Tinto on Saturday night. For the Cougars, winning a national championship in front of thousands of their fans would be the pinnacle of a long journey.
For many years the Cougars fielded one of the best college rugby teams in the land, but could not compete for a national title because the championship game was traditionally held on Sunday.
However, in recent years the game has been switched to Saturdays, and BYU has been a fixture in the championship game ever since — usually pummeling teams on their way to an annual, end-of-season clash with Cal.
This season, the undefeated Cougars have steamrolled virtually every opponent they have faced, outscoring them during the regular season by a combined 973 to 80. That’s an average of 74.8 points per game, to just 6.2 per game for their opponents.
During conference play BYU has been beyond dominant, dispatching Colorado 94-5, defeating Air Force 95-8, shutting out Colorado State 99-0, crushing Arizona State 80-0 and demolishing Wyoming 123-3.
In the CPD quarterfinal match, the Cougars pounded Navy 64-12, before getting a stiffer 36-15 test from Arkansas State in the semis last week on a rain-soaked field in Glendale, CO.
Cal meanwhile defeated Life University 43-10 in quarters, then thrashed Utah 62-14 for a berth in the title match.
The game will be streamed live on ESPN3, then broadcast tape-delayed on ESPNU on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. MT. Tickets are available through Rio Tinto Stadium.
BYU head coach David Smyth says that his team will be ready to face a Cal team that has very few weakness…
All-American prop Mikey Su’a (5-11, 295 Jr.) says that the Cougars realize they take a huge step up in competition on Saturday…
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