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Baylor Downs LSU on Late Try to Take Red River

College Men

Baylor Downs LSU on Late Try to Take Red River

Baylor University has won the Red River Conference championship, scoring a try at the end of the conference final Saturday in Austin, Texas to beat LSU 25-22.

In a physical, tight game that carried much intensity but not always adventurous rugby, the Tigers drew first blood. Captain and flanker Brennan Falcon cut through near the Baylor line. He was ankle-tapped, otherwise he might have been in for the try himself. Instead, Falcon was able to pass out to wing Aidan Elias for the opening try. 

Baylor responded, with flanker Ryan MacIntosh making the key break up the middle. Baylor camped out in the LSU 22 for several minutes and a series of five-meter scrums, but got nothing out of it. LSU continued to get into penalty trouble, and at one point Baylor flyhalf Parker Vincent, playing despite an injury, attempted a kick at goal, but missed.

Finally, off a lineout that stemmed from a penalty, Baylor broke through, and a set backline move set up wing Taylor McGehee, who broke through one tackle and raced in from 30 meters for the try. That tied it at 5-5.

LSU returned to camp out in Baylor territory for much of the first half. A poor clearance kick from Baylor gave LSU a lineout inside the Bears’ 22, and from there they attacked directly under the posts, before sending it wide right, where LSU scrumhalf Mike Lloyd made to go wide, and then cut back into the hole he’d created. Hooker Hunter Breit slotted the conversion for the 12-5 Tigers lead.

Just before halftime, LSU punished a series of Baylor penalties to push into the Bears’ 22, and Lloyd sneaked over to make it 17-5. Breit converted and the Tigers took a 19-5 lead into the break.

But in the second half, the momentum changed somewhat when one of LSU’s props was sin-binned for flying into the ruck from the side, and taking out a Baylor player with a shoulder. Baylor went on the front foot after that, and while it took them about five minutes to get a try, they finally did. 

Pressure off a scrum forced LSU back, and while they were able to kick clear, the kick didn’t make touch, and wing Abu Kamara caught it neatly, and took off, beating five LSU players as he angled from the sideline to the posts. No LSU player was able to lay a hand on him, and Kamara was in for the try. 

Vincent converted and it was 19-12. Breit extended the lead with a penalty, and then Vincent answered for Baylor to make it 22-15. 

But after that, LSU looked to have a supreme chance to put the game away.

A break down the wing which looked very promising ended when a pass back inside was nabbed by the Baylor defense. The Bears lifted the siege, only to see LSU come back. Falcon broke though and was hauled down by MacIntosh. Falcon offloaded but the ball was lost forward right at the tryline.

That was the big play. Baylor got a penalty after the ensuing scrum, and from that lineout, they attacked with No. 8 and captain Pete Hamm, and center Jeffrey Scott. A series of pick-and-go’s ate up territory and eventually earned a penalty in front of the posts, and Vincent put it over. LSU still led, but now it was a one-score game at 22-18.

LSU kept at it, but impatience in the breakdown saw them give away penalties. One penalty led to a Baylor lineout five meters from the LSU line. Baylor won the lineout (barely), and attacked in the middle, before Vincent sent a perfect pass out to sub wing Westin Pruski, who went over with an LSU player desperately trying to drag him away.

That was it. Vincent added the extras to make it 25-22, and then LSU’s final surge ended with a penalty.

Baylor goes on to the DIAA playoffs. Whether LSU does or not depends on the D1A rankings.

 

Baylor 25

Tries: McGehee, Kamara, Pruski

Convs: Vincent 2

Pens: Vincent 2

 

LSU 22

Tries: Lloyd 2, Elias

Convs: Breit 2

Pens: Breit