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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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A big Saturday

In a match with multiple implications, the BG club rugby team was able to beat Ohio University at home Saturday, 43-21.

The team is now 32-1 on the fall season, and with the win against OU earned a staggering 27th-straight Mid-American Conference championship.

A MAC title wasn’t the only thing on the line, though, as the Falcons were able to secure a final four spot in the midwest regional of the National Championship with the win.

Heading into the match, both teams were 8-0 in conference play, with BG losing only three conference games since 1982.

The “A” side match started off rather slowly, as both teams were trying different moves, waiting for one another to make a mistake and then trying to capitalize and deliver the big strike. BG was able to strike first, with center Dan Brandenstein finding a gap in the OU defensive line and sprinting 50 yards for the try virtually untouched.

Just 10 seconds later, the Falcons would score again. Eight man Rich Hines took a kickoff 75 yards for the team’s second score of the half.

Then the scoring picked up in a big way.

After OU converted a try later on in the half to make the score 17-7, BG went on to score three more times. Lock Tony Brown recovered a fumble in the end zone, Hines added on another try and fly half Nick Viviani added a penalty field goal.

At the half, BG led 31-7.

BG coach Roger Mazzarella said that OU tried to run a seldom-used offensive style to confuse his team.

“They surprised us with the use of the rolling maul as an offensive weapon,” Mazzarella said. “That is something we see from an opponent only once every four or five years.”

“If anything, the Bobcats hurt their cause every time they spun the ball wide,” he said.

The second half went much like the first half ended, with the Falcons putting up more points. Hooker Eric Nutter intercepted a pass and reached the end zone. Later in the half, center Scott Wallace intercepted a pass and passed the ball to wing Ian Gagnon for another try.

OU managed to score twice in the half, but it proved to be too little too late as BG won 43-21.

“The Bobcats played as per our expectations, tough in the forwards but no match for our backfield,” Mazzarella said. “[Ohio’s] two flankers were probably the best we’ve faced all year.”

Next up for the Falcons is a Midwest Regional match-up against Northern Iowa this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Iowa Falls, Iowa. BG has played Northern Iowa only two times ever, winning both matches.

The winner of the match will go on to play Sunday at noon against the winner of an Ohio State vs. Minnesota matchup.

“B” side reaches victory milestone against OU

In Saturday’s second match, the “B” side was able to down the Bobcats 41-10 and maintain their undefeated fall record.

The win was a milestone for the team, as it was their 100th match victory in a row. The incredible winning streak began on April 8, 2003

Center Jeremy Hale led the Falcons in scoring with a try and three conversion kicks. Five other Falcons would go on to score in the game.

“[The winning streak] is a feat that is certainly unheard of, at least in rugby circles,” Mazzarella said.

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