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September 29, 2023

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Falcon rugby defeats Ohio State

The Falcons defeated their old team rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes, on Saturday in a statement game.

“We’ve had to dodge the frozen ground, freezing rain and snow just like everyone else in the Midwest, so we spent the week working on situational tactics,” said Coach Tony Mazzarella. “It’s a change for the whole team, but I think that paid off big for us.”

BG jumped to a 5-0 lead after wing Nolan Cavano scored a try in the corner of the endzone, but the Buckeyes closed the gap and capitalized on a penalty kick to bring the margin within two.

The team established its style of rugby early with a Bryan Kean try to lead 10-3. The BG forwards got low and drove the Buckeye defense back 10 yards to push Kean into the endzone.

The Falcons followed up with flanker Justin Stevens snagging a fumbled ball and returning it 50 yards for a try.

BG looked to be in great shape, but Ohio State scored in the remaining seconds of the first half to make the game a four score difference.

“It was a mental lapse,” said center Michael Ziegler. “We should have known they were desperate for a score, and they dragged it wide when we were expecting them to kick for points.”

Ziegler’s defense sealed the deal for the Falcons in the second, as he intercepted a pass and took it back 75 yards for a try.

BG continues to battle injuries in the backfield, but the forwards fight together by playing ferocious, hard-nosed rugby.

The BG – Ohio State rivalry did not disappoint, but the Falcons just wanted it more by being faster on the breakdowns, faster on the attack and faster to set up on defense.

If BG can get healthy within the next few weeks, the team will be a dangerous opponent for anyone in the national tournament next month.

“Injuries are apart of this game,’ said Ziegler. “It’s how you fill those injuries that matter.”

The Falcons will host the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be the second of their three Big Ten opponents this spring.

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