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Class Shows in Fall Classic

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Class Shows in Fall Classic

Arkansas State players celebrate. Photo Calder Cahill.

The Bowl Games at the CRAA Fall Classic showcased a distinct difference between the winners and losers.

The teams that had avoided injuries, had encountered tougher competition, and had more athletes at key spots came away victorious.

Mint City Bowl

In a game expected to be relatively close, Penn State emerged 61-10 victors over Ohio State. OSU had suffered some injuries and struggled in the scrum, which is rare for them.

Penn State scored within the first minute thanks to a big charge from prop Chris Stoeppelwerth and quick ball sent wide for Michael Wein on the wing. Dalton Musselman, who was back from injury and able, finally, to suit up with flyhalf, orchestrated Penn State’s attack nicely. His well-weights grubbers combined with some smart passing put several away for tries.

Center Dan Morariu was very quick and chased down a Musselman kick early. He ended up with two tries. Stoepelwerth was very strong in all aspects, and earned player-of-the-game honors.

Overall Penn State played wide and fast and took advantage of the wide field at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte. With Ian Roudybush and Aidan King crashing through the line for the hard yards and Stephen Hoey scored 17 points on six conversions and a try, Penn State won by being quick, alert, and brutal on defense.

Watch the game on The Rugby Network here>>

Hornet’s Nest Bowl

Arkansas State was expected to be Southern Virginia and indeed in the end it was a lopsided victory, 72-7. But SVU had their moments and kept within reach into halftime.

With flanker Corbyn Harrison blasting through the line and the halfback combination of Aidan Ridgway and Warrick Day working well together, the Red Wolves pulled away. No. 8 Aaron van Dyk was very good, but the mane who really shone was lock Evan Roode. The big second row was on everyone’s shoulder when a line break was made, usually getting the offload to continue the attack. Roode was a monster in the breakdown, and helped spark a strong ASU showing in set piece. He also scored a try and was named player of the game.

In the backs James Beauclerk and Braydon Wilson scored multiple times as, like Penn State, Arkansas State made the wide field work for them.

Watch the game on The Rugby Network here>>

Battle for the Castle

A game of three halves saw Mount St. Mary’s pull away from Michigan State 68-27. MSM exploded for 32 points in the first 30 minutes. Xavier Logan was over within a minute and scrumhalf Chris Cleveland scored two tries from close-in, one on an outrageous dummy that took three players out. Damon James was dominant in the scrum and trouble with ball in hand.

As the half wore on, Michigan State struggled mightily to have any continuity in the opposition half. The Mount, meanwhile, saw big breaks from the likes of fullback Bastian Brunello and massive hits from flanker Dylan Staub Mount St. Mary’s took control 32-0.

But Michigan State started to figure a few things out. They cut back the penalties and used their big runners such as Jacob LaFave and Jronimo Ballesty to force MSM into committing penalties. The Spartans ended the first half with two tries and as the second half started began to score more. Suddenly it was 32-24 with Michigan State threatening on a lineout.

But MSM got out of their funk, and found joy attacking the right flank. Logan ended up with three tries. Brunello got two while Evan Corbett was in the middle of everything, partnering well with James Stelluti in the midfield. All of this turned the game around and eventually MSM would win 68-27, but they had been pushed.

It's no surprise that two of the winners came from the Rugby East, as that is a very challenging conference and even teams that struggled to find victories, such as Penn State, had learned a lot. Yes, SVU lost, but they lost to a stacked Arkansas Sate team that may be the best Red Wolves side in several years.

Watch the game on The Rugby Network here>>