This past weekend Rice University traveled to Waco for the Inagural “Stewart Morris Challenge Match”. This match featured the two oldest college rugby clubs in the State against one another. Both teams came out fired up and ready to play some punishing defense in this match. After a very nice kickoff Baylor pinned Rice down deep and after a Rice indescretion Baylor choose to take the points which Flanker Gavin Goetchius slotted to take an early 3 – 0 lead just 2 mins into the game. The next 7 mins of the game was a back and forth afair and eventually Baylor was penalized for offsides which allowed the Owls to level the score at 3 each. The Baylor defense was in the face of Rice all day giving them very few attacking options, which allowed Baylor to camp out inside the Rice half for much of the first 40, but mistake after mistake down close allowed Rice to continually relieve the pressure. During the 35th minute of the match Baylor Captain and 8 man Blake Rodgers was penalized for closing the gap on a lineout jump that looked very similar to every other lineout taken throughout the day. He questioned the referee call which led to 3 seperate 10 meter penalties. Rice would eventually capitalize on this scoring the first try of the match and take a 10 – 3 lead.
More Baylor indescretions allowed Rice to kick a penalty to close out the half leaving the score at the break 13 – 3 in favor of the Owls. Baylor came out determined to correct their multitude of mistakes in the first half that led to all of the Rice points. After the opening kickoff of the second half, Baylor moved the ball between the forwards and backs and eventually got it in the hands of Baylor Inside Center Brent Jukubec who slammed his way over the line to move the score to 13 – 11 in favor of Rice. At this point in the game it seemed that Baylor was taking the edge and really putting it to Rice, but again penalty after penalty allowed Rice to march down the field and kick another 3 points to increase their lead to 5 points 16 – 11. The last 20 minutes of the game saw Baylor have multiple opportunities to score but they were held back by good Rice goaline defense. In the 75th minute of the match Rice was awarded an advantage inside the Baylor 22 and the Rice flyhalf slotted a nice drop goal to seal the game 19 – 11. Baylor continued to play hard, but in the 80th minute they saw their only breakdown in their defense as they allowed the Rice flyhalf to split through the backline and put a grub kick into the corner. A foot race insued and the Baylor Fullback Jeff Kriesel seemed to have position to dot the ball down for the 22 meter drop out but was illegally shoved off the ball and this allowed the Rice winger to dot the ball down for a controversial final try. Final score was Baylor 11 – Rice 24 in a match that was much closer then the score reflected, but hats off to Rice for defending hard and capitalizing on the large penalty count against Baylor. I think both teams hope this is an indication of how hard these games will be for years to come.
Baylor A Squad:
2 DJ Spence
3 Chip Camp
4 Miklos Valdez
5 Rob Geiersbach (Replaced by Jon Hosket at 45th minute)
6 Gavin Goetchius
7 Nate Sloan
8 Blake Rodgers (Captain)
9 Ryan Phillips
10 Sean Reid
11 Josh Key (Replaced by Jordan at half)
12 Brent Jukubec
13 Josh Terndup
14 Cody Riles
15 Jeff Kreisel (Co-Captain)
Men of the Match: Chip Camp for his major improvement in fitness and solid scrummaging and Cody Riles for playing lights out defense and making smart decisions all day.
The Baylor second side was keen to exact some revenge and came out fired up and playing hard. This game saw many young guys make their debut. All the new faces played very hard and were keen to learn the game. The game flowed pretty well and Baylor put together some well worked tries to win the game 11 – 15. The highlight of the match was a Jon Hosket run from the Baylor 8 meter line in which he stiff armed his way around 2 defenders then broke down the sideline and handed off another would be defender and then lower his shoulder on the Rice fullback and sent him flying before scampering to the tryline and handing the ball off to rookie, Scott, who dotted the ball down for his first try and became a ZULU Warrior.
Men of the match: Jack for some punishing defense and Jon Hosket for his electrifying runs.