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Indiana v Kutztown an Instant Classic

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Indiana v Kutztown an Instant Classic

In a day of tight, thrilling games, Indiana held off Kutztown University 38-34 in a clash of GRR’s #2 and #5.

The game had everything - physical defense, a variety of tactics, exciting plays, and a dramatic ending.

Kutztown used their vaunted backs to make inroads into the Indiana end and then their forwards to power over. But Indiana stayed with them thanks in part to Teddy Terezis’s goalkicking. 

Terezis, in fact, accounted for all of Indiana’s first 13 points, helping his team keep pace with Kutztown’s two converted tries. Just before halftime Tyler Graham went over for Indiana for a 20-14 IU lead. 

In the second half, KU’s Jonathan Sage connected on a penalty goal right in front of the posts after some concerted Kutztown pressure. But Indiana replied, with Bryce Campbell, who had a superb game, pushing off tacklers and rumbling in from long range.

Down 28-17, Kutztown scored another try through the forwards to come within four at 28-24. Matt Duncan rumbled through and stretched over for a try, putting IU up 35-24. Kutztown inched back 35-29. Then, needing to score twice, Kutztown put together their best sequence, over 20 phases, with a couple of Indiana penalties mixed in there, and finally Robert Stortz cut through a gap to make it 35-34. The tough conversion was missed, and Indiana surged through on pressure defense, forcing a dropped ball and an offside on the knock-on, giving Terezis one more shot at goal.

Kutztown almost won it, regardless, going in at the corner, but a knock-on at the line thanks in part to IU’s tenacious defense, ended the game.

There was too much going on in this clash. IU try-scorer part excellence Jake Hidalgo was keyed on, but made several key defensive plays. Campbell was inspirational. Prop Andre deColli scored two tries and was deadly from in close. 

IU sent their student body to win their rucks, and the choice was very effective, in part because their defense was solid.

Kutztown was plagued with early errors, and still came oh so close.

“We’re after the win, that’s why we play, but it was a fantastic show of rugby,” said Kutztown captain Wes Hartmann. “You can get frustrated, but it was a great game. We were so close. We were proud of our patience throughout the season. And late in the game we went phases, phases, phases and scored. We wanted to do that again, but we got a little over-eager and knocked it on.”

“We knew it was going to be an 80-minute game,” said Campbell. “We knew we could put points on the board and so would Kutztown, but we had to stick to our defense for 80 minutes. We had players like Matt Duncan step up defensively.”

The matchup itself was a welcome one for both teams. They liked the matchup of the Big Ten and Rugby East champions. And there’s the bragging rights thing, too.

“We are proud for ourselves but also for the Big Ten,” said Campbell. “It’s a really strong conference and we wanted to show that.”