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Baylor Meets LSU for Red River Title

College Men

Baylor Meets LSU for Red River Title

It's championship time for the Red River Conference, as Baylor takes on LSU in Austin, Texas.

The game is part of a big day of rugby at the Austin Huns field in Austin, in which University of Arkansas plays Texas, Texas Tech plays Houston, and Oklahoma plays Texas A&M.

But it's the Baylor v LSU game that is of greatest import. The winner of this game is in the DIA playoffs for sure. The loser might possibly get in, but a guaranteed spot comes with a victory.

LSU finished their league season undefeated at 7-0 (one game rained out), while Baylor finished 7-1. LSU is ranked #16 in the D1A Rankings, and #16 in the Goff Rugby Report rankings. Baylor isn't in the D1A Top 20, and GRR has them at #35. Why the difference? It's mostly about margin of victory.

Baylor did go 7-1, but they won two gams over Arkansas really close, 26-25, and 25-20. LSU was supposed to play Arkansas, but the Razorbacks couldn't make the trip (recorded as a 20-0 forfeit). So there's no comparison there. Still, Baylor's wins were close ones, and in fact four of Baylor's seven league victories were by a try or less. In common opponents, LSU beat TCU by 57 and Baylor by 75 (basically both won by blowout), and LSU beat Texas A&M twice, by 10 and 23 points, while Baylor won 15-8.

So while the argument could be that Baylor has had a tougher schedule, LSU has won by bigger margins.

Baylor Head Coach Mason Hering knows that if his team has had to battle through tough games, maybe that helps them in this final.

"We are certainly geared up and excited," said Hering. "This is the biggest match our guys have played in bar none. The boys are ready to lay it all out on the line and compete against the best. Our defense has been our calling card all year but we've been tested the last few matches. We will need to correct our mistakes and will have to put them under pressure to have a shot at winning. They are a very skillful side who won't make a ton of mistakes on their own. We will need to force them into situations where we can potentially control the outcome."

Baylor is somewhat banged up. Flyhalf Parker Vincent will likely be a game-time decision as he suffered a rather disturbing ear injury earlier this spring and is still dealing with it. Both centers, Stewart Morris and Jeffrey Scott, are not 100% but will play.

LSU is pretty healthy, led by hooker Hunter Breit (also their goalkicker), flanker Brennan Falcon, No. 8 Todd Dupre, and a dangerous backline.

"We are ready," said LSU Head Coach Bob Causey. "What I do know about Baylor is that they want to win the Red River, and I expect a hard-fought game from both sides."

Hering adds that not playing LSU doesn't mean they are unacquainted with the Tigers.

"Even though we haven't faced them this year they are well known to our team," said Hering. "When you go through two seasons - your first two seasons in our conference at that - unblemished people take notice. They have weapons all over the field and it's not going to help us one bit if we game-plan to stop just one guy. They play great team rugby so we will need to prepare for everything they can throw at us."

The game will kick off at 5:30pm CT in Austin. Gift-Time Rugby will live-stream the match. See a video promo here.

Live feed can be seen on the Goff Rugby Report main page. www.goffrugbyreport.com.