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Arizona used a second half surg to beat in state rival Arizona State 29-17 Saturday. With the win, the Wildcats avenged a loss to the Sun Devils from last season.
The game was very even for the first twenty minutes. Arizona struggled with penalties early as the teams traded tries. Arizona State scored twice while Dante Weeks dotted down for Arizona. Kyle Rogers added two penalties and took an 11-10 lead into the break.
The heavy recruiting Arizona coach Sean Duffy did coming into the season has paid off. The Wildcats had much more depth this season and the bench really played a role yesterday. Dacoda Worth came off the bench for a try yesterday and along with the strong play of other substitutes.
“Our bench really made a big impact,” Duffy told Rugby Today. “That really enabled us to do some good things and distance ourselves. ASU, they had a lot of good fight but our depth and our precision and the breakdown and the set piece really was the difference.”
Arizona pulled away in the second half, with tries from Worth and flyhalf Kyle Rogers. Along with a pair of penalties, and holding ASU to one second half try, the Wildcats went on to win 29-17. Rogers tallied 19 points on the afternoon, really spearheading the Arizona attack.
The set piece play favored Arizona and really was the difference in the game. Duffy praised the play of his forwards, naming a few of the standouts.
“Hooker Stephen Branham and Sean Coleman at lock would be guys that really jumped out at me in the set piece and the breakdowns,” added Duffy. “We really target the set piece as an area where we think we can do some good things and we were able to do that.”
Arizona has played a tough schedule this spring and has taken its lumps against the likes of Lindenwood, St. Mary’s and Cal. However, the team is headed in the right direction.
“ASU is a good team. They beat us last year. A lot of guys that were on the field yesterday were on the field last year. That felt good for the guys to get that win yesterday,” Duffy concluded.