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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Ruggers remain undefeated, will face No. 17 Indiana over weekend

At 24-0, the BG men’s club rugby hasn’t encountered many road blocks.

As of the new October ninth Division I men’s college rankings, BG is the 13th best team in the country. They currently have the best point differential in the nation and 13 of their wins have been shutouts.

Last week, they looked to improve on their undefeated record with Michigan State coming to town for a three-game set in some pretty muggy conditions.

Once again, the “A” side set the tone for the day, winning the first game 49-0. Fullback Dan Brandenstein was the first Falcon to score, as he was able to run through a big hole in the middle of the MSU defense. Shortly after, fly half Nick Viviani scored and tacked on a penalty field goal.

Just before half-time, wing Ian Gagnon found open space and sprinted 95 yards downfield for yet another score. At the half, BG led 20-0.

In the second half, the Falcons didn’t let up in their offensive attack. Gagnon opened things up by chasing down a kick, grabbing the ball out of the MSU receiver’s hands and taking it into the end zone for his second try of the day.

Gagnon’s try was only the beginning, as three other Falcons would score in the half, topped off by three more conversion kicks and a penalty kick by Viviani.

Despite the lopsided score, coach Roger Mazzarella said that Saturday’s high temperature affected the offense negatively.

“The heat and humidity did a lot to reign in our offense,” Mazzarella said. “The defense was magnificent, but the oppressive heat took its toll. There were too many times where someone would break the Spartan defensive line but there would be no backup support.”

Defensively, BG only allowed the Spartans to get out of their own territory just twice in the game. They were led by the back row of flankers Ryan Bonek and Mark Viviani and eight man Rich Hines.

Mazzarella has been very pleased with the work of the trio all season long.

“Besides being stalwart defenders, the three of them have turned ball theft into an art form,” Mazzarella said. “Two of them bring down the ball carrier while the third has already taken the ball before he hits the ground.”

In the “B” side match, fly half Pat Wolansky, wing Toby Ledesma and scrum half Mitch Albers each scored tries, with Albers adding on a kick conversion. They won 17-0.

In the final game of the day, the “C” side won 19-17.

This weekend, the Falcons will travel to Indiana for a match with the 17th-ranked Hoosiers.

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