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Three games took place in the SCRC this weekend with Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi State coming out victorious. With the wins, the Wildcats and the Volunteers pull into a three-way tie for first with South Carolina in the East Division. Alabama and Florida, both of which lost today, sit atop the West Division at 2-1.
The most notable game of the weekend was the Kentucky victory over Alabama. The Wildcats outlasted the Crimson Tide 21-12. Some strong defense and timely scoring paved the way for the victory.
“Defense was the key. We spent a lot of time on defense in the first half but didn’t give up many points. When we had the ball on offense we made a couple of plays,” said UK coach Gary Anderson.
Leading the way was captain and outside center CJ Leadingham. The senior had a try, a conversion and three penalties totaling 16 points on the afternoon. Complementing the back was a pair of flankers, Caleb Canter and Kyle Peterson. The seniors have led the Kentucky pack for the last several years.
Kentucky has been on the rise over the last couple of years, and a win over an Alabama team that has made the playoffs recently, puts the Wildcats in good position to make a run at them this season. The Wildcats have had strong recruiting classes the last two years and paired with the core group of senior leaders, Kentucky is coming into its own.
“The last two recruiting classes have been really talented and that just has really melded in with the handful of veterans we have,” Anderson said of his team.
Kentucky will have to go through the perennial power, Tennessee in order to make waves in the SCRC. The Volunteers continued their winning ways with a 51-14 victory over Florida.
Kerry Roberts opened and closed the scoring for the Volunteers. Roberts, who scored the game winner in the conference finals at the ACRC Bowl Series last year, has been battling a knee injury and is just getting back in the swing of things.
“Kerry had a great open field day today,” Tennessee coach Marty Bradley said of his lock. “He really got out into space and created some opportunities for us,”
Jack Donlon added two more scores for the Volunteers, who got up early, and ended up running away with the game. UT led 22-0 at the break and Donlon’s two second half scores put the game away.
“The boys played pretty well today. Florida is well organized and very athletic. They caused us a lot of problems at the tackle. But, we have been working very hard at trying to counter some of those things and we kind of knew what they were going to do today. We kind of exploited some of things they created. At the end of the day, we were able to make plays. It is very satisfying to see some of these kids make rugby plays based on what they were seeing in front of them,” Bradley added.
The final game of the weekend saw Mississippi State beat Auburn 38-24 to get its first win this year. South Carolina was supposed to play Vanderbilt but the game was postponed.