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Arkansas State ended Utah Valley's run in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup with a 39-12 victory in Jonesboro, Ark. on Saturday. The Red Wolves weathered early pressure and ultimately out ran the bigger and stronger Wolverines.
For the first 15 minutes of the game the teams traded possession inside the opposition 22-meter line. Arkansas State had the first foray into enemy territory but thanks to a pair of penalties came up empty.
“We came out strong, which we do not usually do. We put them under pressure from right from the get go but did not get any points from it," said ASU coach Shaun Potgeiter.
After getting into Red Wolves territory thanks to the penalties, Utah Valley spent the next ten minutes probing the ASU line. Stellar defense, however, kept UVU off the board.
“We had a good goal line defensive stand for a while. They were just pounding it out the whole time. Running with their forwards doing pick and go’s but we kept them out and forced them to make errors,” Potgeiter added.
Arkansas State broke the deadlock midway through the first half scoring a try. Sustained pressure inside the UVU 22 meter line led to a yellow card. The Red Wolves added a penalty and two more tries to take a 20-0 lead with the man advantage.
“We planned for that after 20 minutes they would get a little bit tired. They were big boys. They probably had 15 pounds on each of our players. They got a little bit tired towards the end of the first half as we kept up the tempo,” Potgeiter said of the game plan.
ASU scored the first two tries of the second half to extend the lead to 34-0 and began emptying its bench. UVU took advantage of the substitutes to score two tries in the stanza and cut the lead to 34-12.
“Our defense kind of slipped away a bit. Our subs struggled to get into the flow and pace of the game. Our defensive structure went a little haywire there for a bit,” Potgeiter said.
The game was well in hand by then, however. The Red Wolves added a try at the death for good measure to complete the 39-12 victory. ASU will host the Naval Academy in the semifinals of the Varsity Cup next week.