BGSU Rugby team defeats Northern Illinois on Saturday

Zack Carreon and Zack Carreon

Any plans that Northern Illinois had to play spoiler in the Mid-American Conference Rugby Championship were smashed to bits by a BG offensive juggernaut in a 73-17 Falcon victory.

Playing before an enthusiastic crowd at Doyt Perry Stadium, the Falcons struck early and often the Falcons ran up a 47-0 lead before the Huskies managed to slip in a try in the final seconds of the half.

“Northern had some really big guys and they hit like tanks,” said BG captain Dane Szente. “Big hits don’t count for too much though when we always had three or four guys right there in support.”

That constant support and relentless drumbeat-like attack kept the Huskies off balance and unable to generate any kind of their own offense. The Falcon defense came in for praise from Szente.

“Sure we attacked them from every point of the compass, but it was the defense that went about the business of stripping the ball, counter rucking and poaching that got the huge mismatch in ball possession,” he said.

Flanker Justin Stevens came in for particular note by Szente.

“He was all over the place, like a wild man,” Szente said. “I saw him make six tackles in a row in the space of about 30 seconds.”

Szente did his part in the victory in addition to scoring 28 of BG’s 73 points. The senior prop hit nine of 11 conversion kicks as well as two tries, including one that came after stiff arming six Huskies tacklers on his way to the end zone. Szente is well on the way towards breaking the record for points by a forward set 32 years ago by BG’s Mike Harrington.

“This was our best game so far,” BG coach Tony Mazzarella said. “The forced break certainly helped, but it was really gratifying to see the offense clicking on all cylinders. Speed kills and we were quick to the breakdowns and spun the ball side to side so much that Northern just fell too far behind trying to keep up.”

The first half was like a metronome in the Falcons’ rhythmic march into the end zone. Lock Bryan Kean and hooker Mike Brown each scored a pair while lock Alex Garnaut, Szente, and flanker Frank Viancourt each punched in solo tries and Szente was six of seven conversion kicks.

In the second half, flanker Justin Stevens opened the half by stripping the ball from a Huskies player and then racing untouched for 40 yards for the try. Joining him in the end zone in the second half were Szente, lock Mike Treon, and wing Nolan Cavano. Szente was three of four in kicks.

BG also took the second match (non-league) by a score of 33-7. Wing Sam Polzin had a pair of tries, while lock Mike Kuntz, prop Cody Wilson, and lock Alex Cranmer had one apiece. Wing Cole Shaffer kick four conversions.

Just for good measure, the BG freshmen defeated Ohio Northern 24-5 on Sunday. Wing Tom Rodgers scored a try and kicked two conversions, while wing Joe Lubera, center Ted Kilgore and scrum half Rory Fleek each added tries.

The Falcons sit alone atop the MAC rugby Conference as the season ticks down to a likely championship deciding match on Nov. 9 against Miami. The Falcons, now 4-0 in the MAC and 13-0 overall, travel to Ball State next Saturday at 1 p.m.