Midwestern St. was at the pitch going through their normal pre-game drills and our lads were going through their pre-game routine, but as I approached them I noticed something a little different in their faces and body language. I dismissed it as my imagination or lack of, after going through the list of players in Wichita Falls and tweaking the line up a bit, it was announced.
Props – Alex Chi, Nate Pyle, Hooker – A.J. Paradowski, Locks– John Bradshaw, Weston Hearne, Flankers – Erbold Uran, Mohammad Nadeem, # 8 – Steven (Sunshine) Hale, Scrumhalf – Cameron Brossard, Flyhalf – Vince Dutton, Centers – Dominic Prestia, Trevor Smith, Wings – Alejandro Chinchilla, Marc Hudak, Fullback – Marcus Burnside.
Reserves – Brian Martinez, Brandon Miller, Justin Thompson, Steven Shaffer, Joe Conover, Graham Horrell, Stephen Boeding, Nabe Tessema
After getting an ear full from the referee in his pre-game speech we kicked off at 2:06 and from the opening kick, it was here I realized that what I saw in the lads, it was them ready to play this match. MSU had some rather robust players ready and willing to take on our guys anywhere on the pitch and your Comets responded equally, they hit every one of the MSU attackers and sometimes it took more than one player to bring MSU.
The first half was hard fought both sides going back and forth, attacking and defending from goal to goal.
The action was fast and furious, but the high light of the first half was watching A.J. pick up the ball at the back of a ruck and rumble 75 yards for our first Try in the 5th minute of the match, the conversion was missed. Vince exploited a gap in the MSU defense and blew by the defenders to score his Try in the 29th minute of the match, conversion missed. In the closing minutes of the first half, Cameron showed his power and elusiveness scoring his Try in the 34th minute, this time Vince was able to make the conversion. While I’m only high lighting the UT Dallas scores, MSU was busy all day long scoring themselves and making this half a very difficult and exciting half. The first half ended UT Dallas 17, MSU 12.
The second half was a mirror of the first, both sides playing hardnosed ball, not conceding anything to their opponent and trying to push forward. MSU scored first in this half with a Try and conversion to take a 2 point lead (UTD -17, MSU 19). Both teams defended and attacked, because no lead was safe, but it was the Comets and Vince Dutton scoreing his second Try of the match in the 56th minute. Vince made the conversion, now the score UTD 24, MSU 19.
This would be a half that would seem to last an infinite length of time instead of the normal fast paced 40 minutes, but it was those pesky MSU forwards that would take this match to an even higher level. MSU scored a Try and conversion about the 70th minute to tie the match at 24. With time running out and both sides leaving everything on the pitch, but in the 78th minute of the Wing, Marc Hudak was given the ball with space and time to use his speed to get into goal, score the Try and put this game away. Vince converted the Try, the score now UTD 31, MUS 24.
But the match wasn’t over, MSU kicked off to us but some mishandling errors gave the ball back to MSU and they proceeded to attack our red zone. MSU through everything they had, but the lads responded by not allowing them to get into goal. It was in exciting final minute of play, MSU about 5 yards from either scoring another Try and possibly tying the match again, but it was not to be. MSU committed a penalty and the match would end on our 5 meter line with both teams exhausted from a very fast paced 80 minutes of running and hitting. The final score UTD 31, MSU 24.
I take my hat off to the coaches of MSU and players from both sides who coached and played their butts off. This match could have gone either way, but your Comets decided they would spoil the MSU home opener with that win.
This was a huge match for the lads to win, this match showed them that they are all becoming more and more tighter together and this is what’s going to be needed as we continue this journey through the Lonestar Conference.
The University of Texas at Dallas Rugby club is 3 wins, 0 losses in league play this year and leading our conference. Another note, UT Dallas is 10 – 0 since last year, we haven’t lost a league match, playoff or championship since we began playing last year. That is something to be proud of and I think they know it and to continue won’t be easy.
Saturday, Nov. 3 is a bye week for us to relax help wounds heal and get ready for our next match Nov. 10th against SMU. That match means a lot to me and I’ll be informing you of some of the things that it does mean so much as we get closer.
Thank you to everyone that made the trip to Wichita Falls, to cheer the
lads on, and give us all that great support.