Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Huge Comeback As Life Overhauls Lindenwood

irish rugby tours

Huge Comeback As Life Overhauls Lindenwood

Todd Lunow photo.

Life University defeated Lindenwood 34-22 in Marietta, Ga. in the latest example of how you can never take anything in the Mid-South for granted.

Lindenwood started the game on fire. Within a few minutes the Lions put Life on the back foot and from a lineout attacked wide. Center Stephin Alberts produced a powerful fend, sucked in some defenders, and hooker Runako Brynard picked up and powered through.

Brynard had a hand in the next try just a few minuted later, diving into a loose ball to create a turnover for Lindenwood and popping an offload to wing Tyren Al-Jiboori, who thundered down the sideline. 

Scrumhalf Matteo Peignon converted both on tough angles and then added a penalty to put Lindenwood in a commanding position 17-0.

Life looked to be ready to start something but repeated mistakes saw them backing up. The Running Eagles spent a long period in the Lindenwood half but couldn’t quite break through. Finally they got a kickable penalty and scrumhalf Bradley Crane put it over. 

After that this intense rivalry got back to what it usually it—full of contact and aggression and no one wanting to give up anything soft.

Lindenwood had to work very hard to get their next try-scoring chance, but finally marched down to the Life tryline where a wide, flat pass from Peignon to Al-Jiboori allowed the wing to go over for his second.

The game was 28 minutes old and Lindenwood led 22-3. 

But Life Head Coach Colton Cariaga wasn’t panicking.

“It was pretty back-and-forth but Lindenwood executed their plan well early and we made a couple of costly mistakes. Next thing we know we’re down 17-0,” said Cariaga. “So although it didn’t seem close on the scoreboard, we knew that we were very much in the game.”

Life exerted some pressure after that third Lindenwood try, and were patient despite not getting much from the possession. 

But it wasn’t like Lindenwood was bereft of opportunities. As the first half ended the Lions took a lineout five meters from the Life line, won it, and set the maul. Brynard popped off the back and looked for all money to be over, but somehow the Life players held him up and the half ended when a Life pass went to no one and rolled dead.

Life started the second half on the front foot and a nice flat pass allowed wing Daria Porta Sanchez to cruise in.

Moments later a Lindenwood penalty led to a Life lineout inside the Lions’ 22 and an excellent maul from 15 meters out just trundled over. Hooker Adam Chadwick touched it down and it was 22-15 with Crane’s conversion.

Now it was a one-score game. Yet another maul seemed to be destined for the tryline for Life but Lindenwood stopped it. Life kept at it though and eventually prop Jared Miller took a pass and was driven over. Crane converted and with about 15 minutes to go it was a tie ballgame 22-22.

Not content to just edge their way through Life put the game away in the closing quarter.

Freshman Seth Kramlich blocked a kick at midfield, gathered the ball and was gone from about 45 meters. 

And with only a couple of minutes left Lindenwood was knocking on the door to tie it but two big tackles in the backline spilled the ball. Center Donovan Law picked it up and took off downfield, offloaded, and the ball was passed through a couple of sets of hands before they were hauled down in the Lindenwood 22. Quick ball from the ruck and a wide kick from Crane out to Gabriel Michnya, who caught it nicely and was over.

And that’s how it ended, 34-22. Life produced a famous comeback, and made it all to play for in the Mid-South.

“The guys were resilient today,” said Cariaga. “We’ve got a lot of rugby ahead, though.”

Certainly they can ill afford another game in which they make early mistakes and face an early deficit.


Life 34
Tries: Chadwick, Porta Sanchez, Miller, Kramlich, Michnya
Convs: Crane 3
Pens: Crane

Lindenwood 22
Tries: Brynard, Al-Jiboori 2
Convs: Peignon 2
Pens: Peignon

Life is now 1st in the Mid-South. However, Lindenwood has a game in hand and three of their remaining four games are at home. Regardless, every team is still mathematically in contention for the conference title.

Mid-South 2022-23 W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Life 2 1 0 95 45 50 2 0 10
Davenport 2 1 0 40 49 -9 0 0 8
Lindenwood 1 1 0 54 34 20 1 0 5
Arkansas State 0 2 0 7 68 -61 0 0 0