If you've been keeping up with your FSU Rugby News, you know that this past weekend on Saturday, February 15th, the University of South Florida Bulls were coming to Tallahassee to prove that last year's stampede was just a fluke. The last time the two teams went head to horns, the Seminoles put up an astonishing 57-15 win against their division opponents. However, this weekend was different as the Bulls made an early opening statement by leading the charge and putting 5 points up on the board within the first 10 minutes of the match. The stunned 'Noles knew that from this point on it was going to be a long and physical rodeo.
USF coach Gordon Campbell is known for teaching and executing a system based on the fundamentals of rugby: running, passing, and physicality. Despite defensive pressure, the Bulls jam-balled their way into half time with a 0 – 10 lead over the Seminoles. With inspiration coming from veterans, Captain Dan Burczak and Dan Sammons, in a half time huddle, the 'Noles came back onto the pitch to prove themselves a worthy tribe of warriors. Phily Lack headed the resistance by knocking over one Bull and dragging two others across the try line from 10 meters out to put the 'Noles back into the game. USF then countered with a tactical chip over the Seminole back line which earned them another 5 points with a quarter left to play. Subsequently, off a set-piece, flyhalf Kevin Sundquist broke the gain line to get behind the Bull's defense. He then passed it out to the backs which flawlessly moved it down the line where Zach Molenda offloaded the ball in a 2 on 1 to give Austin Follos a 30 meter dash for a try in the corner.
The last 10 minutes of the game could be characterized as grueling with a little sloppiness and plenty of skepticism. 'Noles for the most part managed to maintain possession inside the Bull's redzone with goal-line physicality. The rucks were treacherous with bodies stacking into dog piles and the ball impossible to keep track of, apparently. Each side hurled bodies from every direction in attempts to recover the ball as no whistles were blown until trivial infractions appeared. With discipline and resilience, Seminole Parker Grant dove into the try zone at the closing minutes of the game to balance out the score board awarding both teams with a tie.
When asked to head coach Asa Brown about the teams performance, he responded with “'I thought the resilience that the team exhibited was great. Grind-out games are inevitable, and the fact that we battled from behind on the scoreline the whole game should not go overlooked. I was also very impressed with the stout defensive pressure that we put on USF's backline.'”
This weekend the Seminoles are headed down to sunny Miami to reface their divisional opponents, Florida International University. Make sure to follow @FSURugby on Twitter for live updates and like us on Facebook for event invites!
February 15, 2014
FSU First XV vs USF
Final score: 15 – 15
Tries: Phily Lack, Austin Follos, Parker Grant
Conversions: Austin Follos (0 of 3)