St. Bonaventure's 33-32 win over Davenport this past weekend is perhaps proof that the Bonnies are, indeed, going somewhere.
SBU head coach Tui Osborne said Saturday's result at home is an indication of how much his young program has improved this fall.
"It's night and day," Osborne said. "I knew it was going to take a while to get consistency of results. We've got another couple of years to get consistency, and we're not in an easy conference. But the guys' buy-in has created that hunger for them to learn more."
It has been an up-and-down year for the Bonnies. SBU won its opening game against New England College but lost Rugby East Conference games to Kutztown, Penn State, and Army, giving up an average of 62 points per game in those losses.
But sprinkled in there were positive signs: a 30-24 defeat of Wheeling Jesuit; a 24-13 win over Buffalo; a close 34-24 loss to Notre Dame College. All of those results indicated Bonnies might put together something soon.
So they did against Davenport. After falling behind 24-7, SBU came back with tries from Kyle Ciquera, Nick Dillon, Ciquera again (he scored three on the day), and North Westall. That last one cut Davenport's lead to 32-31, and it was freshman Joshua Smith who put the touchline conversion over for the win.
"We've been changing the standards of the team's conditioning and structure, and that's improved the way they look at the game," said Osborne, who had six freshmen in his lineup against the Panthers. "The young guys have taken the chances we've given them."
Lock Jack Wiles was player of the game and led the squad nicely up front.
"All of them, the younger guys and the older guys have realized that we can play at this level," Osborne said. "I am looking forward to them all looking at the last 40 minutes against Wheeling, the last 40 minutes against NDC, and the last 40 against Davenport and use that as an example of how we should play."