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Arizona Beats Arizona State

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Arizona Beats Arizona State

The University of Arizona moved to 2-1 in the PAC Rugby Conference and took the Dave Blank Trophy as the Wildcats defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 35-25 Saturday.

The game was a typically hard-nosed, intense clash between the two longtime rivals, and wasn't decided until the final play of the game. With the score 28-25 for Arizona, Arizona State was moving the ball out of their 22 and looking to tie it up, when Dante Weeks intercepted a pass and galloped in under the posts to seal the victory.

Arizona led 10-6 at halftime thanks to a try from fullback Jack San Pietro, and a conversion and penalty from freshman center Luke Thayer. Two Alex Walsh penalties constituted Arizona State's scoring.

Walsh kicked two penalties to start the game 6-0 before Thayer replied. Pietro then put Arizona ahead with his try.

In the second half, the teams went back and forth trading scores. Arizona State struggled in the tight five for a bit as a starting lock, and then his replacement were injured in quick succession, forcing the Sun Devils to move a prop to lock.

In the second half, Bailey Stringer went over to put ASU ahead 13-10 with Walsh's conversion. Arizona flanker Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had a solid game, nudged his side ahead with a try, converted by Thayer, to make it 17-13. They added two penalties to put his side ahead 23-13 before Stringer added a try, which he converted. Colin Clancy;s try for th Sund Devils put ASU ahead 23-25. But once again, Arizona replied, with scrumhalf Matt Rogers zipping over the line.

That made it 28-25, and set the scene for the Weeks try and Thayer's final converison. Thayer was superb for Arizona, converting three tries and adding three penalty goals. Thayer had been a back for Jesuit HS in Sacramento before finishing up his time there as a flanker, and also the team's main goalkicker. 

"All that time at flanker, he had to make a lot of tackles," said Arizona Head Coach Sean Duffy. "He defended really well at center for us and is sort of a center who plays like a flanker. And his kicking was huge for us."

Matt and Kyle Rogers combined nicely at the halfback hinge for Arizona. For ASU, Head Coach Gary Lane said "it was a good game, and we had some chances, but it didn't go our way."