Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Alabama Upsets Tennessee for SCRC Title

irish rugby tours

Alabama Upsets Tennessee for SCRC Title

The University of Alabama did it again.

Two years after pulling off a shock semifinal victory in the SCRC, the Crimson Tide pulled off two upsets in dramatic, iff different, fashion to win the conference this past weekend.

Two weekends ago, Alabama exacted revenge over Kentucky for an earlier loss, beating the Wildcats 34-33 in Birmingham, Ala. And this past weekend, it was a close, defensive-minded game, in which Alabama outlasted Tennessee 12-8.

Thought to be one of the more downtrodden DI club teams in the country, Alabama is something of a stealth team. Yes they don’t get a lot of respect or support on-campus, but they have good coaching and good athletes and that chip on their shoulder can go a long way.

The game itself, played at Life University in Marietta, Ga., started with Tennessee taking the lead through a try from Nesto Rivas. The try came from sustained pressure and then a penalty, on which the Vols decided to kick to touch. They took the lineout, set up a maul, but then spun it out quickly for Rivas to crash onto the flat pass and go over. 

UT held that lead, despite a yellow card, but a second yellow left them shorthanded once more and this time, Alabama struck. Captain and inside center Ross Depperschmidt launched an attack from inside his own 22. Cutting through a gap, Depperschmidt then cruised across the field, looking for support, and then sent a long pass out to freshman Caleb Strum, who turned on the jets and was gone for 40 meters. Strum had some space between him and the sideline, and he needed it as the Tennessee cover defense chased him. He was able to outrun the defenders, and curl around under the posts. Ignacio Guisaola slotted the conversion, and Alabama took a 7-5 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Alabama was on the UT goal line for some time, and a kick to the corner for chasers almost resulted in a try. But Tennessee recovered from, with an Alabama player in the sin=-bin, looked ready to retake the lead. Instead, the Tide scored.

Once again, the try started at the Alabama 22. Scrumhalf James Puente set up Strum for a run, and took the return offload to link with Depperschmidt. Puente’s pass to his captain was perfect, and Depperschmidt beat one defender and outpaced another into the corner. The try made the score a veary reachable 12-5, but it was a tough blow for UT.

it was Alabama that had to play shorthanded, thanks to a yellow card, but regardless, the Tide scored. Depperschmidt ran in support of scrumhalf James Puente, and chugged another 40 meters to make it 12-5.

Tennessee kept at it, and Ben Schwartz slotted a key penalty, putting his side within a try at 12-8.

But that try never came. Tennessee had a lineout five meters from the Alabama line late in the game, and ran a promising backline move, only for Taylor Carpenter to make a bone-rattling tackle that jarred the ball loose. Then a penalty deep in the ‘Bama 22 led to another lineout. This time Tennessee ran a short-throw play that sent scrumhalf Travis Vickers in between the touchline and the five-meter dashed line. But Alabama hooker Pat Feimer had widely held his ground, and he, along with No. 8 Christian Abbatiello, stopped that chance.

“I’m beyond proud of the way our team fought both in the championship and semis,” said Depperschmidt. “Our determination to win was very evident along with the strength of the camaraderie we developed throughout the season. This season was special beyond the play of this specific team, but rather a culmination of the tireless efforts put in by great players over the last few years to take this club from a social group more or less to now a perennial power in the SCRC.”

Depperschmidt gave a nod to Tennessee, whom he called “”a fantastic team that had a tremendous season and were a play away from being back-to back-champions. The work Marty Bradley does for this conference cannot be appreciated enough, and we are grateful for his efforts along with the other conference directors’.”

Depperschmidt was one of the heroes, but he lauded the work of the team’s defensive effort, especially the forwards, with prop Shawn Dawley leading the way. Tennessee’s maul didn’t go too far, and Dawley was a big part of that.

Alabama takes the 2016 SCRC championship. 


Alabama 12
Tries: Strum, Depperschmidt
Convs: Guisasola


Tennessee 8
Tries: Rivas
Pens: Schwartz


1. Tyler  Pollock / TJ Patterson
2. Pat Feimer
3. Shawn Dawley
4. Bobby Collins
5. Jackson Moss / Ian McDonald
6. Heath Ross
7. Connor Ray
8. Christian Abbatiello
9. James Puente
10. Jgnacio Guisasola
11. Andres Kallas / Brett Walsh
12. Ross Depperschmidt (c)
13. Taylor Carpenter
14. Caleb Strum
15. Tyler Hsin  


1. Keenan Kayser
2. Charlie Holman
3. Jordan Campbell / Creighton Couch
4. Kerry Roberts
5. Nesto Rivas / Duncan Bintrim
6. Hayden Ryan
7. Dylan Craven
8. Josh Landon
9. Travis Vickers
10. Nick Duklewski (c)
11. David Nuckolls / Michael Turner
12. William Holland
13. Ben Schwartz / Justin Ransom
14. Sam Hawkins
15. Cormac Barry


See full game video below. If you don't see the embedded video, please refresh the page.