Life got out to a hot start in their first CRC match, defeating Drexel 46-0. The Running Eagles wasted no time in this one, as Cody Melphy easily scored the first three tries of the match. Life held the ball in their end of the field for most of the first half, and went into the beak up 24-0. It was more of the same in the second half, and despite being a man down for a short time thanks to a yellow card, Life still found a way to score early in the second half. Connor Mooneyham scored a few minutes later, followed by one from Kevin Lynch. Drexel had a nice run at the final horn, but couldn’t put anything together and failed to get on the scoreboard. Life moves to 1-0 and will take on Virginia Tech next, while Drexel faces Penn State later in the day.
Penn State took care of business in their opener, beating Virginia Tech 29-12. The Nittany Lions put the pressure on early, as Ryan McNulty pushed his way over the try line out of a scrum to open the scoring. They kept up the speed along the touch lines, and kept scoring. McNulty would add two more at the end of the first half, including one blistering run down the line capped off with a dive through the uprights. PSU went into halftime up 22-0. The Nittany Lions started the half strong with another try, but eventually ran into discipline trouble, as two players were sent to the sin bin in consecutive moments. With a seven-on-five advantage, the Hokies were able to score twice late in the match, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Penn State takes on Drexel next, while the Hokies play Life in their second match.
In a lower-scoring grudge match, Arizona defeated Army 20-0. The opening minutes were very back-and-forth, and Army looked ready to strike first blood, but Arizona held the line and kept them out. Arizona countered but couldn’t get across themselves. It took over six minutes for the first try to be scored, as Arizona’s Shane Dempsey got the ball over the line in the final minute of the half. At the halftime horn, Tyler Sousley scored for Arizona to give them a 10-0 halftime lead. It was all Arizona again in the second half, as their relentless pressure led to another try each for Sousley and Dempsey late in the half to put the match away. Arizona takes on Navy next, and Army gets St. Joe’s in the second match.
Despite giving up the opening try, St. Joe’s beat Navy 22-12. Navy got the scoring started in the opening minute with a nice run by Connor McNerney, but it would be all for naught as the Hawks proceeded to throw everything they had against them. Aram Keshgegian got their first try to move to within two points, and Tom Curivan followed it up with a nice try off a lineout to take the lead. Before the half ended, St. Joe’s would add one more and take a 17-7 lead into the break. The second half was more of the same, as Keshgegian scored his second try of the match on a dive in the corner of the try zone. Navy tried to counter in the final minutes of the match and got one more try with seconds remaining in the second half thanks to Piper Thaler.
In the closest battle of the early games, Dartmouth outlasted Clemson 21-14. Dartmouth got it going with an early try from Jack Braun, and made a conversion to go up 7-0. For the rest of the half, Clemson wore down the Dartmouth defense, and played a style similar to 15s to get a try and conversion at the end of the half to tie the match at sevens. Clemson got to work quickly with a Liam Helstrom try to open the second half, but Dartmouth’s Ollie Englehart was having none of it, and he raced up field off the ensuing kick to tie it up again. A few minutes later, Benji Hannam bolted through the middle to put Dartmouth in the lead for the first time in the second half. They held on to the ball for the remainder of the half and secured victory.
Utah withstood a last-second comeback from Temple to win 21-14. The Utes got the scoring started with a try from Gabe Ruflin, but Temple quickly countered with a trying try from Peter Mulville on a big speedy run on the right touch line. At the end of the half, Temple’s Oscar Hernandez laid an ill-advised hit in a ruck that sent him to the sin bin. That allowed Caleb Meyer to score a try for Utah to end the half and give the Utes a 14-7 lead. In the second half, Utah’s Chad Gough stretched over the try line with defenders on his back to put his team up 21-7. Temple would add one more try in the final moments, but couldn’t muster anything further, and Utah kicked into touch after the horn to end the match.
Arkansas State dominated Tennessee en route to a victory 40-0. In the opening moments, Zach Young made a long run through the middle of the field and scored to give the Red Wolves an early lead. Then, Zinzan Elan-Puttick zigged and zagged through the Tennessee defense for another Arkansas State score, and the conversion made it 14-0. Off the ensuing kick, a quick takeaway put the Red Wolves on the board yet again. Elan-Puttick added one more before halftime, and scored again shortly into the second half. One last try and conversion at the final horn padded the Red Wolves’ lead to 40-0.
The defending champion Cal Bears didn’t miss a step from their 2015 championship run, soundly defeating the Maryland Terps 29-0. The Bears used their fancy footwork to get the opening try from Nick Boyer and a 7-0 lead. Moments later, Russell Webb scored in the corner to bring the lead to 12-0. At the end of the first half, Thomas Robles got a pass in the middle, shaked and baked around some defenders and went over to bring Cal’s halftime lead to 17-0. In the early moments of the second half, Miles Honens made it look easy as he scored for Cal to bring the lead to 24-0. The bears scored again with less than two minutes to go thanks to a good run from James Kondrat to put the match out of reach for good.
Indiana rode a late first-half and second-half scoring surge to a 22-7 victory over Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish got on the board in the opening minutes with a try from Sean O’Leary. As the half came to an end, Bryce Campbell put Indiana on the board, and Tyler Graham gave the Hoosiers a 12-7 lead as the first half expired with a fantastic run. Midway through the second half, Indiana’s Teddy Terezis rolled over a tackler to put the ball down across the try line and extend the Hoosiers’ lead to 17-7. In the final minute of the second half, Connor Marsh added one last try to push the final score to 22-7.
Kutztown moved to 2-0 on the day with a 22-10 win over Boston College. The Bears put the hurt on early with a try from Kina Malafu, and kept piling it on with a try from Dillon Smith. They kept up the pressure and Robert Stortz punched in a third try to close the half with a 17-0 Kutztown lead. Boston College would not be held silent, however, as they scored first in the second half with a speedy try by Joey D’Antonio. Kutztown quickly put any comeback chances to bed with a long try by Jordan Ghyzel. BC would add one more in the dying seconds with a Willy Hock score.
Wisconsin’s quick start propelled them to to a 29-5 win over South Carolina. Tyler Crass got the scoring party started for the Badgers with two tries early in the first half, and Hunter Crass added one more at the halftime horn to bring Wisconsin’s lead to 15-0 at halftime. The Gamecocks were able to work their way back into the game with a try from Luke Bolembach midway through the 2nd half, but after that, Jack McGinnity took over for Wisconsin, adding two tries in the final minute to seal the deal for the Badgers.
The Maryland Terrapins kept the Tennessee Volunteers at bay, winning their pool play match 22-14. Maryland drew first blood with a Mike Mussina try, but the Vols were quick to counter as Dylan Craven went over to tie it. Right at the halftime whistle, Guy Lopresti took an offload and went over to give the Terps a 12-7 lead at half. Maryland went right back to work in the 2nd half, getting a try around the four-minute mark from Erik Tack. Play stagnated from there, as Maryland kept the ball up in their end Tack would add one more in the final minute to seal the deal for the Terps, but was sent to the sin bin in the dying moments of the match. The Vols added a try after the horn with the man advantage.
Temple scored 19 second-half points to beat Clemson 19-12 in the first game of the day on national television. Clemson held the ball in their offensive end for most of the first half, and opened the scoring with a Drew Dommel try. They got right back to work and scored again, working in the corner and springing Dylan Goulding for the try. Clemson entered halftime with a 12-0 lead. Early in the second half, Dan Ponti put Temple on the board with a great fend on a Clemson defender and a burst of speed towards the try line. Following that, Temple had a glorious chance to get back in the match, as Goulding was sent to the sin bin for Clemson. They capitalized with an Aidan Gallagher try under the goalposts, and the conversion by Ponti tied the match up at 12. Clemson worked their way up field as they tried to take the lead back, but the Temple defenders stole the ball on an errant lob pass. On the ensuing possession, Mike Wellstein put a step to the inside and burned the entire Clemson defense to give the Owls the lead for good with less than a minute to go.
Virginia Tech followed up their huge upset of Life with a stellar victory over Drexel by a score of 24-7. The Hokies put the first two tries on the board, thanks to Evan Towle and a loose ball pick-up and score by Tommy Whitaker. Drexel countered with a stutter-step, long run and a try from Cody Bukowski to bring it to 12-7. However, in the final minute of the half, Virginia Tech padded their lead with a try from Connor Fay, and the Hokies entered halftime with a 19-7 lead. They kept it up in the second half, keeping the ball in their offensive end and the Dragons on their toes. Dan Hardwick eventually found a gap and lunged for the try line to put the Hokies out to a 24-7 lead. Drexel looked like they had a chance to make it interesting with just over a minute to go, but the Hokies quickly regained possession and brought it back inside the Dragons’ 22 to close out the match.
With former player and current USA Eagles Sevens captain Madison Hughes watching from the broadcast booth, Dartmouth came from behind to beat Utah 19-15. Utah had the stronger start in this one, getting out to an early 10-0 lead thanks to some tough work inside the Dartmouth 22 leading to a Chad Gough try, and a blistering run by Casey Raymond that barely got Utah over the try line. From there, Dartmouth held court going into halftime, and finally scored to cut the lead in half thanks to some great passing and try by Ben Mills. Utah was able to get right back in the driver’s seat early in the second half, as Ben Mills had the numbers advantage going down the wing and dove over the try line to take a 15-5 lead for the Utes. Dartmouth wasn’t going to go down quietly, as Curtis Oberg took a great offload and got over the line, and added the conversion to make it a 15-12 Utah lead headed into the home stretch. The Big Green kept up their attack, and Ryan MacGuire found a gap to score the go-ahead try for Dartmouth. A conversion put them up 19-15 in the final seconds.
Notre Dame scored early and often to beat Boston College 24-14. The Eagles had the first offensive, but came up just short of the try line thanks to some fantastic fallback defensive plays by Notre Dame. On the ensuing Irish possession, the offense went to work, and after a fantastic series of passes and offloads, Riley Worth eventually found space and went over for the first try of the match. The two teams went back and forth again, with the Irish keeping the pressure on in their offensive end. To end the half, Dan Conmy broke the BC defensive line and scored to bring the Notre Dame halftime lead to 14-0. The Irish got right back to work in the second half, as the captain Pat McMahon picked up a loose ball and slammed it home for a try. The pressure didn’t stop for the Irish. Sean O’Leary found a burst of speed and scored in the corner for Notre Dame to pad the lead even more, up to 24-0. The Eagles broke the shutout with a strong Duncan Wood 60-yard run and try, plus the conversion. BC added a last-second try to bring the score to a closer 24-14.
Arizona hung tough in a low-scoring battle of wills to beat St. Joseph’s 14-5. The Wildcats were pinned deep in their end to start the match, but eventually worked their way to midfield. Some great passes down the wing and a numbers advantage put Ben Joseph over the try line to give Arizona a 7-0 lead. That would be all the scoring for the first half. In the opening moments of the second half, Chris Curcio showed a burst of speed down the touch line and scored for St. Joe’s, but a missed conversion kept Arizona in the lead by a score of 7-5. However, Arizona was quick to quell comeback hopes, as once again, crisp passing and good runs led to a Josephs try, and the conversion put Arizona in front for good 14-5.
The UCLA Bruins put on a show for a national audience on NBC, routing the Michigan Wolverines 38-0. Niall Barry had the hot hand for the Bruins in the first half, as he scored a hat trick of tries to give them a 17-0 lead at halftime. Each try was prettier than the last, and his final try required some fancy footwork and a nice fend to get over the try line. UCLA picked up right where they left off in the second half when Seb Sharpe kicked consecutive grubbers down the field and eventually put the ball down for a try. Minutes later, Kent Presson scooped up a loose ball, had open space towards the try line and got over to confirm that the rout was on, and bring UCLA to a 31-0 lead over the Wolverines. At the horn, some soft hands allowed Pierre Courpron to retrieve a ball and score to finish the blowout at 38-0.
Kutztown held off a late surge from Indiana to win 17-12. The Bears looked like the better team early on, and the scoreboard reflected that. Kina Malafu found paydirt in the corner of the try zone to open the scoring, then Jordan Ghyzel kept up the offense for Kutztown to make it 10-0. Indiana made it interesting going into halftime with a great run between Teddy Terezis and his teammate resulting in a Terezis try to cut the lead to 10-5. Kutztown got back to work in the second half, and let Alex Faison-Donahoe, who had been quiet in the tournament up until this match, run wild against Indiana, scoring a try to put the Bears up 17-5. A rough play with under three minutes to go put a Hoosier in the sin bin, but it didn’t matter, as Casey Smith answered the call for Indiana, scoring a try and adding a conversion to put the Hoosiers within five points. The Hoosiers made a late push at the horn, but were stopped well short of the 22-meter line to end the match. With the win, Kutztown clinches first place in Pool B.
The Cal Golden Bears survived a scare from a relentless Arkansas State side in the final minute by a score of 24-12. Cal showed why they are the defending champions of the CRC early, as they played crisp, technically-sound rugby in the early minutes. Jesse Milne scored first for the Golden Bears, and moments later, an incredible long pass was swung out to Jake Goena for a try to make the score 10-0. Milne would add his second try of the match and a conversion before Arkansas State finally got on the board with a hard-working try as the halftime horn sounded to cut Cal’s lead to 17-7 at the half. The Red Wolves kept the pressure on midway through the second half, and eventually Zinzan Elan-Puttick was able to zig-zag through and score to make it a one-try match with little time to play. It looked like the Red Wolves were about to tie the match, but Patrick Barrientes had other ideas. Barrientes took the ball away inside his own 22 and burst all the way downfield for a try to seal the deal on a 24-12 victory. With the win, Cal remains unbeaten and secures first place in Pool A.
The Life Running Eagles rebounded from their upset loss against Virginia Tech to beat Penn State 17-7. Life got going midway through the first half when Donovan Norphlet went over on a skipping pass to give the Running Eagles a 5-0 lead. Near the end of the half, a dangerous play in the air by Zander Van Schalkwyk put him in the sin bin, which carried over into the 2nd half. It didn’t matter for Life, as Mitch Wilson received a wonderful offload and bounded over the try line to put Life up 10-0. Penn State tried to counter, but Ryan McNulty couldn’t handle a grubber kick and went out into touch. The Nittany Lions were quickly back out on the attack, but lost it again, and Cody Melphy made an unbelievable run to put Life up 17-0 with less than a minute remaining. Penn State got a garbage time try from Michael Dabulas and a conversion to make the final score 17-7.
In a highly-anticipated military rival matchup, Army beat Navy 21-10. Army was able to score first on a great run by Jake Lachina, but Navy wasn’t going to just capitulate right then and there. Gardy LeBon scored for Navy to cut the lead to 7-5 at halftime. Early in the 2nd half, Army put the pressure on and finally got over again when Luke Heun rolled over a couple of defenders and scored. They held a 14-5 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the second half. The Black Knights kept rolling through in the offensive end, and Torran Raby weaved his way through the Midshipman defense to bring Army’s lead out to 21-5. Navy started to rebound as Piper Thaler made a strong run for the try line and got over to cut their deficit to 11 points. The Midshipmen kept the pressure on, but couldn’t find the try zone again, and the match concluded at 21-10.
Wisconsin blanked Michigan 26-0 to wrap up their pool play slate. The first half was relatively uneventful. Wisconsin had the only try of the half: an early score from Jacob Syndergaard. From there, the teams battled between the 22s, and neither team could get an edge. The Badgers went into halftime with a 5-0 lead. Early in the 2nd half, the Badgers added another thanks to a good run by Hunter Crass. The conversion put the Badgers out to a 12-0 lead. They kept piling it on, and Tyler Crass got in on the scoring action with a diving try. Michigan’s David Caputo was sent to the sin bin with under three minutes to go, which didn’t exactly help their comeback cause. The Badgers’ Kyle Pedraza took advantage of the man-up situation and scored to put Wisconsin up 26-0 with less than a minute to go in the match.
UCLA overcame a halftime deficit to beat South Carolina 19-7 in the final match of Men’s CRC pool play. South Carolina had the stronger start, as Daniel Callahan scored and had his try converted to put the Gamecocks up 7-0. It looked as if UCLA would start unraveling when they had a player sent to the sin bin, but South Carolina couldn’t take advantage of the extra space with the man up, and lost the ball. UCLA pressured, and nearly scored after the halftime horn, but Luke Hoffman dropped a ball into touch on the wing that would have surely been a try had he caught it and ran cleanly. South Carolina went into halftime with the 7-0 lead. UCLA struck back with a Race Noeldner try and conversion added to tie it up at 7. Minutes later, Seb Sharpe used a phenomenal individual effort to power over the try line and put UCLA in the lead by seven. Noeldner added another with around two minutes to play to seal the score at 19-7.