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A&M, Baylor Start Red River Play With Emphatic Wins

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A&M, Baylor Start Red River Play With Emphatic Wins

Texas A&M players are all happy after beating North Texas.

Texas A&M and Baylor won early Red River Conference games over the weekend and sent a message that the up-and-comers still have a way to go.

A&M beat North Texas, a team that had, pre COVID, showed strong signs of being a contender. UNT isn’t struggling by any means, but A&M’s 58-7 victory was a message that there’s more to do.

Meanwhile, Texas had shocked quite a few with a 29-5 win over Oklahoma a week ago. Well, this week the Longhorns met up with Baylor and it was the Bears coming away victorious 43-29. A competitive game for Texas, for sure, but also a message from Baylor.

A&M Still Strong

Despite being full of young players, many of whom had never started for the team’s A-side until this season, Texas A&M pieced together a very nice performance on Saturday. The conference-opening win came after a series of warmup games Red River teams held against the DIAA Lonestar teams.

Those games were crucial for both sides, as it provided tough competition, and a little bonding, among Texas programs. In those games A&M lost to Sam Houston, but it was not the front-line A&M side in that game. Regardless, it was a good showing for SHSU, and a message to the Aggies players that they can’t take anyone for granted.

“We are getting incrementally better week to week,” said A&M Head Coach James Lowrey. “We’ve had good teams ask questions of us that we haven’t been able to answer. That’s alright. I can’t be too hard on the boys when we’re making gains every week. There’s a lot to improve and a lot to be proud of.”

A&M’s forward pack has become a strength this year. Sophomore lock Anthony Rigas is relatively new to rugby, but has embraced the game and become a force in the pack.

Niko Corsico has been a nice find at No. 8. Born in Argentina, Corsico learned the game there, but took a break to nurse injuries and concentrate on his studies at Texas A&M. His return to the game in this his senior year has been a boon to the Aggies.

“As often happens, when you come back from a layoff you’re improved and refreshed,” said Lowrey.

That could be said of everyone.

“It’s been very cathartic for everyone involved to be back playing,” said Lowrey, adding, as a joke, that maybe it hasn’t been cathartic for coaches as it’s the coaching staff that has to re-teach everything. “But for the players and even the parents they want to see a return to just enjoying the game win or lose and the camaraderie.”

Baylor Forwards Power Win

Baylor is under new Head Coach Will Magie, who is balancing his USA National Team duties with helping the Baylor team. They, too, played some early games and lost to Lonestar DIAA team Texas State. But this week is conference play, and that's a little different.

Magie praised a physical performance from the forward pack in their 43-29 win over Texas, adding that they were able to control possession and move the ball through multiple phases. Joaquin Soto and Jonah Fuata were tough presences on both defense and with the ball.

Flyhalf Michael Hand led the scoring with three tries and eight conversions for 23 points and ran the attack nicely. Baylor’s depth needs some work, however, as late in the game, with the changes rung, Texas came through with three tries to make it a closer game. It was 43-8 at 70 minutes.

This coming week, North Texas visits Baylor and A&M travels to Oklahoma.