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On Saturday in Provo, Utah, #1 Brigham Young University made short work of #5 Central Washington University beating the Wildcats, 58-27. After surrendering two quick penalty kicks to CWU, the Cougars ripped off 39 straight points to build what proved to be an insurmountable lead. The Wildcats attempted to make a second half comeback with three back-to-back tries, but BYU ended the match with three-try barrage of its own.
“In the first half, we gave away a couple of penalties and they kicked for points,” David Smyth, head coach for BYU, said. “We got settled in and went through the phases really well. Our set pieces and continuity part of the game was good. Our backs did a better job finishing this week than they had lately. I was very pleased with the first half.”
After two penalties by CWU’s Reuben Ludick in the first five minutes of play, the Cougars blitzed for five tries and a PK to dominate the half. Wing Kevin Schofield had a pair of tries and Ryan Blaser, Jonny Layne, and Ricky Tu'ihalangingie pitched in for the remaining scores. Outside center Calvin Whiting was four for five on conversions and added a penalty for the 36-6 halftime lead.
“Coming out in the second half, we wanted to try and punch in a couple more tries, but in all honesty, we got lazy and got outhustled and outplayed for about 15 minutes,” Smyth stated. “CWU came out hard and our boys didn’t respond.”
BYU opened the second stanza with a Whiting penalty to extend the lead to 39-6, but the Wildcats stole the momentum. Tanner Barnes, Korbin Lindell, and Cameron Marek each scored a try in a seven-minute span to close the gap to 39-27.
After the CWU tries, Smyth said that his senior players rallied the troops and got the team back on target. “CWU got three tries and then a couple of our seniors on the field took control, righted the ship, and got everybody back doing what they were supposed to be do and we finished much stronger.”
In the final 15 minutes, BYU cleared its head to score an additional three tries to close out the match. Blaser scored his second, Matt Jensen added another, and finally, Schofield completed his hat trick in the 80th minute to bring the score to 58-27.
CWU head coach Tony Pacheco gives all the credit to BYU. “BYU constantly puts you under pressure and we couldn’t handle it. We sold it for 40 minutes... To be honest, it was over at halftime. You can’t spot a team like BYU like that. You can’t take 40 minutes to figure it out.”
Pacheco’s impact players were flanker Vili Toluta'u and center Tanner Barnes. “Vili puts in 80 minutes of work. He is a lead by example type of guy and he does back down from anything. Barnes was the best player out there by far.”
Coach Smyth celebrated the play of Matt Jensen, Alex Vorster, and Jared Whippy, but it was flanker Jackson Kaka who earned the Player of the Game. “Jackson is doing all the hard work and shows up every week. He’s physical and makes a difference in the breakdown.”
With the second leg of the home and home series with #3 St. Mary’s this coming weekend, Coach Smyth is expecting a battle and has had his squad working on continuity and finishing games. “Making sure we were keeping possession, going through the phases, being able to get the ball placement, rucking over the ball, and recycling [are key to continuity]... In the last couple of weeks, we were creating our gaps and getting through holes and then either knocking the ball on or coughing it forward in the tackle. We were not finishing as well as we should or could be. Today, we did much better in that area.”