You are here
DIA featured a juicy slate of games this weekend that could have a large impact on the final playoff seedings. Twelve of the sixteen teams who are currently in the playoff picture played matches and a few others on the bubble are trying to work their way in.
The biggest statement game of the weekend came from Notre Dame College. The Falcons blitzed Indiana early to go up 28-0 at half ended up cruising to a 35-15 win. It was the first real run out of the spring for each squad but the win will jostle the rankings for sure.
“I thought we played well despite not having much training time to prepare for this game,” said NDC coach Jason Fox. “We looked as though we picked up from where we left off last fall. We played excellent defense and moved the ball very well offensively.”
Indiana can fall no farther than eighth overall, but currently, the DIA bracket has them seeded fifth. Losing handily to the third place team in the Rugby East should boost Penn State to leapfrog them to five and drop Indiana to six in all likelihood.
NDC is currently ranked at 15 and should move up several spots. The Falcons beat Army in the fall and are definitely better than they are currently seeded.
The marquee game from the weekend was the iconic Army-Navy game. The game was tight throughout but Army held off a late surge from the Midshipmen for an 18-15 win. This game will also put the rankings in a bit of flux as Navy and Army were at 10 and 12, respectively. Army should slide up to 10 and bump Navy down one spot.
Life and Lindenwood met in St. Charles for the second leg of their home and home. The Running Eagles jumped out to a 19-0 lead before the Lions cut the game to one score at 19-12. The visitors ran away with the game, however, and clinched the Mid South-Conference in the process.
“Life did a great job challenging our set piece and hit us where it hurt when they were able to build phases. We had them under pressure for some solid stretches of time but struggled to get any reward from it. It gave them time and space they needed to beat us,” said LU coach Josh Macy.
Macy commented that the physical nature on the field and the hard-fought game between the lines but was proud of both teams for their sportsmanship after the game. In conjunction with the Mid South clash, the team did an annual fundraising drive in memory of a teammate, Glenn Markway, who was diagnosed with Leukemia while in college. This year the team raised nearly $10,000.
Back on the field, unless Cal beats St. Mary’s next week, it is likely Life is penciled in at number two. Lindenwood is the top non-conference winner (besides BYU) so they will most likely be nine overall.
Cal took on Dartmouth in a friendly and racked up 101 points against the New Hampshire school. The Bears continue to look dominant and are ready for a bout with St. Mary’s next week. The Bears logged 17 tries in the overwhelming win. Nonetheless, the Cal coaching staff still thinks there is room for improvement.
"We were good in patches," said head coach Jack Clark. "Sometimes, we forget to do the hard parts of the game before the open, fun parts. There is no doubting we are still a work in progress. Our best rugby is still inside us."
Another game out west saw Arizona topple Cal Poly 35-30. The close encounter could have ramifications on the playoffs. Arizona, who was close with San Diego State last weekend and tight with an unranked Cal Poly again proves that they can win close games.
“It was a great team win against a very good team. These type of games are a great test for us and show the fight in this team. Kyle Rogers’ leadership won the game. He picked the team up, got them going and they responded,” said Arizona coach Sean Duffy.
For Cal Poly, they are on the outside looking in. Looming large is a loss to UC-Davis and the fact that they do not have a solid DIA win. A pair of wins against San Diego State and Grand Canyon over the next two weekends will certainly get them into the top 16.
As for SDSU, the Aztecs took a thrashing from BYU this weekend, 72-10. Currently as the 16th seed, they will certainly need to beat Cal Poly in two weeks to remain in the playoffs.
The Red River will be decided between Texas A&M and Baylor on April 7. It is now the only conference yet to be decided. Both teams picked up wins over the weekend.