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Davenport Makes Statement in Road Win

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Davenport Makes Statement in Road Win

Davenport splits their series with ASU. Photo Walter Cronk for Davenport University Sports.

In a result that was a bit of an upset, Davenport defeated Arkansas State 17-16 in Jonesboro Saturday.

These two teams had played a deceptively close game in Grand Rapids in the fall—ASU eventually won 30 but it was a 17-8 game as late as 65 minutes in.

This time, Davenport was determined not to allow a late-game points surge.

As it was, the Red Wolves got their points early.

At halftime Arkansas State led 10-0, but Davenport Head Coach Dustin Steedman wasn’t too bothered.

“At least it was beautiful weather,” he joked. “First time in six years I have played in Arkansas in nice weather. A lot of our play going into this game was centered around our physicality. We knew they would come to play and we we did too. We also played quick, perhaps a little too quick and we kind of tired ourselves out and made some handling errors. But at halftime I felt we were the physically dominant team.”

Still the Red Wolves slotted a penalty to go up 13-0 early in the second half. But after that, it was Davenport’s turn. 

“At halftime we just talked about ball-handling—as long as we can possess the ball we can frustrate them,” said Steedman. “Do that and play a full 80 is what we needed.”

With Colin Turner playing strong at flanker and lock Saul Pitout making hard carries and harder tackles as a lock, they started to shift the momentum. Once they got into position to score, a loose ball was pounced on by fullback Luke Stratford and he was in for a try, converted by Stiaan Van der Westhuizen, and the contest was on. The forwards surged in for another, bashing at the line, but keeping the ball smartly. Finally prop Maris Kurti bashed it over and with Van der Westhiuzen once again converting, Davenport was in front. The teams traded penalties, and Davenport did well to hold on 17-16.

With Mark Armstong and Narrison Nash leading the way the bench raised the intensity and finished the game off in a well-taken road win.

For us it’s a gauntlet,” said Steedman. “This is our fourth game on the road, and they’re not small road trips, either.”

It’s an 11-hour bus ride to play Arkansas State, so yes it’s a bit of ordeal, but it won’t feel like so much of an ordeal with a win under their belts.

With Adrian (another road game, but in the same state) in two weeks, Davenport basically has its D1A playoff application set—eight wins, three losses, one of which was a 24-20 decision to Lindenwood, 2nd in the Midwest Conference with a 4-2 conference record, and victories over Mary Washington, Penn State, and, now, the Arkansas State Red Wolves.