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Kutztown exploited the wide channels with an explosive offensive performance to knock off an undefeated Indiana side in the Cup quarterfinals at the Penn Mutual CRC. Kutztown netted five tries against an Indiana team that only gave up six tries all afternoon yesterday.
“Hats off to Indiana. We knew they were an excellent side but from watching and observing them, we thought if we played a wide game we would be able to wear them out with our substitution management," said KU coach Greg Jones.
Kutztown received the opening kickoff but its offensive sequence was cut short due to a dropped pass inside its own 22-meter. Indiana won the ensuing scrum and took the ball wide. The referee awarded a penalty for coming in from the side and the Hoosiers took the quick tap. Bryce Campbell powered through two defenders to take a 5-0 lead in the right corner.
Indiana fielded its own restart and looked to be on its way to a second score. The Hoosiers earned another penalty but KU forced the Hoosiers into touch and get out of trouble. The Running Bears looked to suck in defenders and swing it wide all half and almost got on the board off the lineout.
Niku Gruger broke out wide with a couple of players in support to his right but a great defensive play from Jake Hidalgo batting the pass backwards and regaining possession stymied the attack. Kutztown finally got on the board after it moved the ball right and sucked in several Indiana defenders. The Bears had numbers left but Nu’u Aaiva elected to take it himself, dancing through two Hoosiers in the process for a score near the posts. Kruger nailed the conversion to take a 7-5 lead.
With little less than a minute to play in the first half, KU won the restart and took a lineout as time was expiring. Once again they had numbers left off the lineout. The speedster Alex Faison-Donahoe stepped a defender and found a wide open Jonathan Sage for a try in the corner. With the missed conversion, KU took a 12-5 lead going into the break. Maison-Donahoe has had a footprint in a majority of KU scores this weekend.
“He is having a real good tournament,” Jones said of Faison-Donahoe. “As long as we get the ball out to him, we have a weapon to score. But the other one who really gives him a lot of opportunities is Robert Stortz. Between the two of them that is our one two punch.”
Indiana received the opening kickoff but the Bears forced a turnover at the breakdown. The ball was quickly spun wide left and after two passes Stortz outflanked the defense for a two score advantage. The game plan seemed to be working to perfection.
"We were extremely physical last year, and we have big kids now, so we can be physical if we want to. We are trying to not be that team we were last year. After we went back and analyzed it, we thought in order to improve we had to get more speed and more IQ and less contact," concluded Jones.
The Hoosiers still had a little fight in them for the time being as Teddy Terezis slipped a tackle for a try under the posts. After converting his own kick, the Hoosiers trailed 17-12.
Kutztown responded immediately, however, putting the game to rest thanks to a couple of explosive tries. Faison-Donahoe exploited a gap almost immediately off the kickoff and found pay dirt after a 50 meter run. The Bears won the restart down the left sideline and immediately moved the ball to Isei Finau. Finau beat his opposite number then found the big man Duke Makina to ice the game.
Indiana was not able to muster any more points and after a strong first day, its day is done. With the 31-12 victory, Kutztown will move on to play Arizona at 320 PM ET.