Two Non-Conference Games That Mattered

Non-conference college games can be a little hit or miss but of late more and more top DI programs are looking for tough tests, rather than guaranteed blowouts.

This weekend was heavy in conference games, but a couple of non-conference games made a bit of a splash, with Utah defeating Colorado State, and LSU beating the visiting Clemson Tigers.

Utah handed CSU a fairly humbling 42-12 defeat, paced by continued solid work by co-captains Caleb Meyer and Gave Ruflin. Kelsin Pupunu continues to showcase his elusiveness, and despite the fact that the Utes are fairly young, they handled a very good Ram squad.

“It was a good game for us,” said Ruflin. “It was our first run-out of the season in a full 15s match. They put us under a lot of pressure, and did really well at stealing ball. So we also had some things to take away from this game and work on for later.”

The Utes don’t have a lot of seniors on their squad, and other players are having to take on that leadership mantel. That is, in part, what this fall is about.

“It can be a challenge, but we’ve got talent,” said Rulfin. “Kelsin is just a stud and he’s also one of the most intelligent players on the team. Dylan James is going to be really good – he’s a player you should watch.”

But this wasn’t a conference game, because Utah is in the PAC Rugby Conference, which plays in the spring. So the fall is about development? Maybe.

“Our main objective is to prepare for spring,” said Ruflin. “We are preparing for conference play and the playoffs. But at the same time, we’re competitors; we want to win. I want to win every game we play. So it was a good day for us.

LSU was coming off a 25-10 defeat of LSU-Alexandria, a small-college varsity program, and then held off Clemson 27-22.

“We are trying to get as many tough games as we can,” said LSU coach Bob Causey. “This was a good benchmark for us and we new it was going to be a tough one. Clemson’s a good team, and winning this game built some confidence for us.”

Causey said he…

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