Thousands of BYU fans gathered at the Rio Tinto stadium on Saturday night to witness the BYU Rugby team take the national championship title against Arkansas State. The final score was 49-42.
The Red Wolves took advantage of the Cougars’ slow start. Arkansas scored a penalty goal in the 2nd minute, which was shortly followed by its first try in the 5th minute. The scoreboard marked 0-8 for the Red Wolves.
In the 7th minute the Cougars picked up speed when the Red Wolves were guilty of obstruction, which gave Senior Shaun Davies the opportunity to score a penalty goal. The goal was good, but the Cougars were still behind 3-8.Captain Ryan Roundy’s initiative brought the team to life. The offenses was struggling to move downfield against the Red Wolves’ defense when the Cougars scored their first try on a spectacular effort by Roundy. Davies missed the conversion and the score was tied, 8-8.
The team really gathered speed in the 15th minute. Davies received a pass from BYU’s center, passed the ball to Paul Lasike who seemed to be in for the try, but passed to fullback Tue Laei at the last second for the Cougar’s second try. Davies’ conversion was good and BYU gained the lead, 15-8.
Despite BYU’s defense best efforts to block, Arkansas found a hole in BYU’s back line and took advantage. The Red Wolves scored their second try in the 21st minute. Pat Sullivan’s kick was good and the score was tied again at 15-15.
Davies caught hold of the ball and ran it the length of the field for the try. He conveniently placed it under the posts, which allowed him to score an easy 2 points off the conversion kick and the Cougars were in the lead again, 22-15.
Another try by BYU’s Will Taylor and Davies’ conversion put the Cougars 29-15, a 14 point lead into half-time.
Both teams returned ready to win, but a penalty in the ruck allowed the Red Wolves to score a penalty kick, which put the score at 29-18, advantage BYU.
After a try by BYU’s Lasike and Arkansas State’s Sullivan, the score was 36-23.
The game was momentarily stopped for an injury on BYU’s player Seki Kofe. Kofe was wheeled out on a stretcher and raised his right arm in response to the crowd’s applause, to which the crowd responded with a loud roar and the game was back on.
The crowd let out a roar again when Mikey Su’a scored the next try minutes after Kofe’s injury. The score was now 46-23.
“It was nothing short of fantastic,” Head Coach David Smyth said.
Mikey Su’a performance was at an all-time high and he was rightfully awarded MVP. Senior Shaun Davies scored a total of 24 points.
Another try from the Red Wolves led the game into its last ten minutes, where the Cougars scored three points off a penalty goal and the score was 49-35.
The clock marked 80:00 minutes, but the official added a couple recompense minutes in which the Red Wolves scored a try in hopes to win, but the final whistle was blown before the Red Wolves could complete their rally.
The final score was 49-42 final and the BYU Cougars left the field having won their second D1A Rugby National Championship.