Baylor Downs North Texas
Baylor Downs North Texas
Baylor defeated North Texas 34-21 Saturday in triple-digit heat in Waco.
It was a good result for Baylor. The Bears scored first with a try from outside center Jeff Scott after 12 minutes. Then a few minutes later junior flyhalf Parker Vincent grubbered a kick through the North Texas line from inside his own 22. The ball rolled on and then popped up perfectly for the backs to work it downfield. After a few pick-and-goes from the forwards, Nate Portz went over to make it 10-0.
After a few minutes of back and forth play, UNT had a midfield scrum allowing to split their backline. They attacked the weak side and some good running with their backs put them over. 10-7. Right before halftime, Baylor again attacked from deep in their end. A strong scrum led to freshman fullback, Luke Davis, in his first rugby game ever, found a gap and went 80 meters for the try and a 17-7 halftime lead.
After feeling each other out a bit in the second half, pressure from UNT led to a series of bad passes by the Bears, and one eventually allowed North Texas to run in for a try. The Bears answered. Sophomore scrumhalf Ben Neukomm caught UNT off guard with a try from a quick-tap penalty from five meters out. Vincent hit the conversions to make it 24-14 for Baylor. Another Baylor try of another quick tap - this time from flanker Andrew Honderich - put Baylor in command, and they held on 34-21.
"Man was it a hot one," said Baylor Coach Mason Hering. "Both teams were feeling it. We played pretty well for most of the match especially dominating set piece and territory. I think we won all but one of our own lineouts and stole many of their scrum put-ins and lineouts. Our defense was swarming in the first half and after a while they didn't have any front up ballcarriers because of that. Our midfield was excellent today both on defense and attack. They really set the tone for us."
Sophomore inside center Stewart Morris and junior outside center Jeff Scott gained big meters and also were strong in defense. Debutant Luke Davis, at fullback, made a try-saving tackle as well as scoring one.
"Overall I was very pleased with our defensive effort in the first half," added Herin. "That really set the tone for the rest of the match. We wanted to come out physical and play in their half which we were able to do consistently. That led to a victory against a talented UNT squad. Credit to them because they never quit. The fought hard all day. It was within ten points a good portion of the match. They have a lot of athleticism and a great coaching staff so their future is bright. Our guys dug deep in brutal conditions to come out on top. They played team rugby and lifted each other up when the heat beat them down. We learned a little in what type of grit this team may have. It's early but we are starting to take shape as a team."