This weekend almost produced a massive upset, and did produce at least one surprise.
Big Doings In Big 10
Purdue was picked to lose by 52 points by FloRugby, and the Boilermakers did indeed fall to Ohio State, but the scoreline - 31-24 - indicated that Purdue might be a little bit better than expected.
The Buckeyes were smacked with injuries early in the game, and were already struggling with knocks on other players. However, head coach Tom Rooney said his players also were a little too impressed with themselves in what is still an early season.
"I am disappointed with our performance," said Rooney. "But I do not want to remove the shine from the improvement of Purdue. They are much, much improved. They made good offloads and did it again and again and responded well when we committed turnovers."
Ohio State led 31-12 but Purdue didn't back down and scored two tries late to make it a close one. Purdue in fact led 12-5 midway through the first half and OSU didn't get ahead until Andrew Bladado's try late in the first period. Purdue actually outscored the Buckeyes in the second half. OSU got tries from Gavin Gill, Nate Heister, Baldado (who also kicked two conversions), Tim Vanderhoog, and Mike Matthews.
Michigan lost to Minnesota in an actual upset, and perhaps an indication that the supposed lesser Big 10 teams are getting tired of being there. This was a back-and-forth game and the Gophers broke a 15-15 tie from center Alijhen Rosado with four minutes remaining.
Army slammed Buffalo 86-3, which certainly must humble the Bulls a bit. the day before, Army beat St. Bonaventure 28-10. That was yet another gritty loss for Bonnies (they went down 15-0 to Navy last week). With Colin Sustersic playing well at No. 8 and combining nicely with flanker Chris Starkweather, and Kyle Cigquera once again a force at prop, Bonnies now just needs more players to match their work rate.
For Army, Nolan Green scored four tries against Buffalo, while tries from Marco Carrabotta, Jacob Eriksen, Collin Grosse, and Will Miller did the job against SBU.
In other conference action, Penn State beat Notre Dame College 29-14 in an entertaining game in which NDC led with 15 minutes to go. Penn State's try-scorers were Mike Dabulas, Rob Irimescu, Kyle Crawford (whose try put the Lions ahead to stay), Connor Cassidy, and Tom Capriotti. Dabulas converted two of those tries.
"We made a bunch of mistakes and did not win our own restarts," said NDC head coach Jason Fox. "We played a lot of defense as Penn State was very methodical and kept the ball for long periods. Overall, we played well for 70 minutes."
So Army starts 2-0, and Penn State is 1-0.
It is a very busy weekend for the Liberty Conference. Albany smacked Brockport 48-17 in a very impressive showing, while Syracuse also looked good, taking down SUNY Oswego 43-5.
The Hammerheads started the game slowly, and could have been down early if not for some mistakes from Oswego at the goal line.
At 17 minutes, the deadlock was broken when wing Tahshea Hollington picked up a loose ball and stormed in to score, Jean Eric van der Elst, who would win player of the game honors, broke down the wing and set up a try for Aidan Kelly. Van der Elst scored a try of his own in the second half, and another after that. Sam Low (who also kicked four conversions) added a try as did Nick Gonzales to seal the win for 'Cuse.
Steve Ambrosino and Brian Burke sparked a 32-14 victory for Binghamton over Colgate; UMass beat Fairfield 49-14, and Northeastern dominated Rhode Island 69-0.
Fordham looked good again, beating Stony Brook 31-5.
Flyhalf Fermin Moraiz scored in the first five minutes, and Finn McCarrick, Jared Smallwood, Gianni Vinci, and Aidan Cohane added tries. But Fordham needed to show better discipline and ball security, and will need that as the season progresses.
AIC plays Rutgers on Sunday.
Liberty team Iona lost 25-7 to new Mid-South team Navy. Iona was without one of its starting centers due to an ankle injury, but Navy was also very good, especially in the second half.
Up 10-7 at the break the Midshipmen brought a more physical approach in the second half and punished a penalty for a try, and then scored twice late.
The game was played on the day of the Pat Quinn corner dedication. Pat Quinn is a member of the Iona Rugby Hall of Fame and co-founded the ALS ice bucket challenge, which has raised over $200 million for ALS research.
Spencer Craig, Erick Bleakley, and Andrew Malick all scored tries for Navy.
Arkansas State beat Mississippi State 63-0.
“Today was an improvement from last week which is what it’s all about,” said A-State head coach Blake White. “There is plenty to work on and it wasn’t close to what we want, but our effort is there and we as coaches are very encouraged by that.”
A number of newcomers got into the action early with freshman back Louis Neal from Cambridge, England, getting a try and Utah product Carter Winter also scoring.
“Our scrums looked solid with a strong effort from the front row,” added assistant coach Kevin Ryan. “And, our second rows gave a solid second push to maintain control and dominance.”
Davenport beat University of Notre Dame 48-7. Davenport controlled the game for most of the afternoon and laid down a bit of a marker. Center Brady Erlich scores two tries and added a conversion, while flyhalf Matthew DeVilliers logged 16 points with a try, four conversions, and a penalty goal. Josh McAdam, Cedric Vakalahi, and Thomas Cheslek also touched down. Notre Dame's lone try came from flanker Sam Bishop.
Indiana beat Western Michigan 35-12.