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There were several high profile DIA non-conference matchups this weekend as teams gear up for conference play. Notre Dame College proved their superior ranking to Davenport with a 27-14 victory, Indiana knocked off upstart Lindenwood-Belleville 41-18 and Ohio State bested Oklahoma 46-10.

NDC vs Davenport

It looked like it was going to be a runaway early for Notre Dame College. Davenport knocked-on the opening kickoff and a few phases later Marcus Tupuola found a gap and opened the scoring. It was the first of three scores on the day for the NDC standout and Collegiate All-American.

The Falcons added a second score via Andrew Guerra minutes later to take an early 12-0 lead but Davenport settled into the game. The Panthers flyhalf Noah Zomberg kept NDC pinned deep in its own territory for much of the first half and managed to turn a couple of mistakes into points.

“We controlled from the get go and really took advantage of some early opportunities but they started to get good ball retention and took some opportunities,” said NDC coach Jason Fox.

Davenport added a try off a chip and chase and a second powering in off a lineout to take 14-12 halftime lead.

Tupuola, who is known for disrupting a game with his scoring ability, made several men miss and found the try zone for a 17-14 lead. A few minutes later, Roneil Reynolds scored to make it a two-possession game. Tupuola, capped off the victory with a 70 meter try as Davenport chased the game. 

“It was definitely an early season game,” said Fox. “I think our pack played very well but we have a few new faces and not having a game prior really showed.”

Lindenwood Belleville vs Indiana

The Hoosiers traveled to Belleville and quickly jumped out on the Lynx with a 26-6 lead at halftime. The hosts adjusted during the break and scored to quick tries to cut the lead to 26-18.

“Indiana did well to punish our mistakes,” said Lynx coach Pat Clifton. “They are a very good side with dynamism all over the park. We felt we made it pretty easy on them with penalties and routine handling errors in the opening 20 minutes.”

Indiana responded, however, with a try to stem the momentum. The Hoosiers added two tries towards the end of the game to take a 41-18 victory.

“It was a competitive game and a great learning experience. We are obviously disappointed, because we know we belong in the same conversation with IU, but we have to look after the ball better to beat a team like that,” Clifton concluded.

Ohio State vs Oklahoma

Unlike in college football, Ohio State got the better of visiting Oklahoma. The Buckeyes took down the Sooners 46-10 in what was a festive weekend overall.

The schools have been working on making this game in conjunction with the football game for several years. Last year was not feasible due to scheduling but the programs were able to make it work this year. This is the first of hopefully many Big 10 and Red River Rugby Conference matchups. The conferences are hoping to schedule for inter conference games in the coming years.

This game was held in conjunction with the Ohio State alumni weekend. Five Buckeyes were inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame and it culminated in a win for the program.

Although Ohio State dominated on the scoreboard, Oklahoma posed a challenge due to their size and strength. The Sooners contested well in scrums and other set pieces.

“Oklahoma was big. That started the challenge. Our lineouts improved,  but our scrums and kickoff restarts need to get better. Their size definitely challenged our scrums. Our tight five need to improve on their fundamentals of core and holding shape under pressure,” said OSU coach Tom Rooney.

Ohio State was, however, able to exploit space out wide. The back three scored five tries in total. The team, though, is still learning to formulate a dynamic offense in the backline.

“Our pattern of play got a little better, meaning our backs started recognizing opportunities, which opened up the game for our back three,” said Rooney. “Our midfield is learning when to attack, when to distribute. We aren't excellent, but we are getting better.”