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Rugby team falls to Ohio State, beset by penalties

If the men’s rugby team didn’t know they could beat the highly ranked Ohio State Buckeyes before last Saturday’s 25-10 loss, they certainly know they can now. The Falcons were handed their first loss of the year but they are making sure they keep things in perspective.

The outcome “didn’#39;t affect our standings or playoff chances in any way,” said Falcons head coach Roger Mazzarella, “and we know exactly what we have to fix in order to beat Ohio State when we meet in the playoffs. There is not that much that separates us.”

One thing that did separate them on Saturday was penalties. Bowling Green was charged with 19 penalties – many of them ending drives into Ohio State’s red zone.

“We had the ball around their zone a lot in the second half,” team captain Aaron Slates said, “but we couldn’t punch it in.” In rugby penalties not only stop play but also turn the ball over. “The guys would bust a gasket working their way down to the goal line only to come away empty handed after being hit with a penalty,” Mazzarella said.

While the first game gave the Falcons what they need to work on this year, the second gave the Buckeyes what they need to work on for next year. Bowling Green’s second fifteen (B unit) beat Ohio State’s second fifteen 31-15 in a preview of next year’s match up.

“This was an important match because it gives us a look at what next year’#39;s lineup will be for both clubs, and frankly, I like the way we are going to match up with the Buckeyes,” Mazzarella said.

Bowling Green’s scores came off three tries by center Zach Bene and a pair of tries by eight man Rich Hines. Fly half Ben Gutek added three conversion kicks.

The Falcons will be looking to rebound this week as they begin pool play against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Pool games determine seeding for the Midwest region of the national championship tournament, as well as home field advantage.

Stevens Point enters tomorrow’s game at 3-1. They have outscored opponents 118 to 38 over those four games. But the Falcons are not worried. Slates said it is “business as usual” this week in practice.

Conditioning has always been a key factor in past matchups between the two teams. “[Stevens Point] always comes out hard but [Bowling Green’s] superior conditioning allows them to dominate the second half,” Mazzarella said. Mazzarella admits that he does not know much about Stevens Point except that “we have never lost to them and we don’t plan on starting this weekend.”

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