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CRC Qualifier Semis

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CRC Qualifier Semis

Notre Dame College made it two wins over JMU and booked a place in the final. David Barpal photo.

The University of Utah pulled off something of an upset, beating AIC in the semifinals of the LVI's CRC Qualifier to make the final in the stadium later today.

The Utes starved AIC of possession brilliantly and won 12-5.

"It was the best game plan played perfectly - will do it every time," said AIC Coach Josh Macy. "We got a little bit of ball in the second half but we were clearly playing catchup."

Utah held onto the ball all through the first seven minutes, and in the second half the Utes' defense held firm, forcing AIC wide and isolating players, which led to turnovers.

"We were very solid at the breakdown," said Utah Program Director Col. Mark Drown. Mason Hafen and Gabe Ruflin scored tries for Utah, and Chad Gough converted one. AIC scored with about 20 seconds left and just didn't have enough time to do more.

The victory gives Utah a shot at returning to a tournament where they have performed very well. The Utes won the CRC in 2010 and upset Cal in 2011 in the quarterfinals. The win also undercuts Goff Rugby Report's own predictions that AIC would win going away.

Utah will face Notre Dame College, which defeated James Madison 22-14 in the other semi. NDC had beaten JMU in pool play, but Coach Jason Fox warned his squad about thinking one victory means the second victory is assured. It was closer this time around, but the Falcons held on.

So it's a new-breed varsity team (Notre Dame College) against a longtime national contender (Utah) in Sam Boyd Stadium at 1pm Pacific.