Men’s rugby makes history against Army and submits WVU 79-12

By Amber DeFabio

Fullback Trent Hensley breaks the outside with inside center John Sage supporting | Photo by Julie Kester, The Keystone

Fullback Trent Hensley breaks the outside with inside center John Sage supporting |
Photo by Julie Kester, The Keystone

KU’s game against West Virginia on Oct. 31 appears trivial in comparison with the Golden Bears’ win aginst Army on Oct. 24 and the current anticipation over their Nov. 7 game against Penn State. However, KU continued their undefeated season with a 79-12 win against West Virginia Mountaineers.

Rugby sports writer Alex Goff and D1A Rugby reported that this match up would be brutal. West Virginia started eight freshmen against KU, and the lack of experience was apparent.

The Golden Bears began their mauling of the Mountaineers after senior wing Jason Denofa scored the first try of the game off of West Virginia’s kickoff. Immediately, West Virginia felt the pressure of the experienced Golden Bears as they attempted to rally their team.

Shortly after Denofa’s try, junior wing Murphy Lill rammed in another try to put 10-0 on the board for the Golden Bears.

This was the theme of the first half until KU junior prop Andy Decoli disrupted the Golden Bear backs scoring streak after Denofa rocketed in another try from the outside. At this point in the game, the score line was more competitive between KU backs and forwards than KU and West Virginia.

Before the Mountaineers scored their first try of the game, graduate student and outside center Robert Stortz, senior flanker Jordan Ghyzel, and Lill scored KU tries as senior inside center John Sage made two conversions.

Sophomore lock Connor Holmes scored West Virginia’s try and sophomore wing Luke Ellis followed with a conversion kick.

At half, the score showed 39-7 for KU after the West Virginia conversion was good.

In the second half, the Mountaineers were able to score one more time with 26 minutes left in the game. Freshman wing Branden Payne received the ball wide and was able to play into open space to put up the last five points for West Virginia.

However, their conversion was no good, and after Denofa, Lill, freshman reserves Sam Devine, Ian Carmichael (2), and Joe O’Shields scored tries as Sage followed with five conversions, the Golden Bears locked in their win with a 67 point differential.

Senior wing Alex Faison-Donahoe was absent from this game due to the invite to play for the USA Falcons at the Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 Halloween Rugby 7s game.

Although the point differential was monumental, the real focus for the Golden Bears is the Penn State game on Nov. 7. The team is determined to bring home another win, especially after beating Army for the first time in KU history with a score of 39-26.

Penn State brings its name to the table, but KU brings its dominance and aggression. The kickoff will begin at 1 p.m. in the Nittany Lions’ territory.

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