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Longtime Rivals Meet in Hornets Nest Bowl

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Longtime Rivals Meet in Hornets Nest Bowl

Vince Carso helped lead Ohio State to a Bowl win over Air Force at the 2021 Fall Classic. Photo Broadgauge Media.

The Hornets Nest Bowl Game at the CRAA Fall Classic pits two longtime rivals against each other in Ohio State and Penn State.

It's a good rivalry not consummated much in recent years but with plenty of history. 

Coming into this game Ohio State has been battling injuries all fall, especially in the back row ... and prop. It's one of those "when it rains it pours" situations. Still the Buckeyes came within a whisker of winning the Big 10 with a patched-together front row. 

"We'll be ready; we're excited for the matchup," said Ohio State Director of Rugby Tom Rooney. "We have a lot of guys nicked and eight season-ending injuries over our 1st and 2nd sides. But this is a really good way to end the fall. More teams should embrace the Bowl Game. It's a great format."

Prop Joey Phipps, who missed the Big Ten final, will be back and his performance will be important. Vince Carso leads the team from scrumhalf and Harry Colbert kicks goals well so the Buckeyes will bring plenty of scoring acumen.

But, said Rooney, "we really don't know what to expect."

For Penn State, a 3-6 record should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt. Losses were all against well-regarded teams (Army, Navy, St. Bonaventure, for example) and all were competitive. 

"While it may look rough from the won-loss column, there have been some real bright spots in our season," said Head Coach Justin Hundley. The Nittany Lions have had "a with a lot of young talent playing some meaningful time which will certainly bode well for the future of Penn State Rugby."

Their record in the Rugby East, added Hundley, is more a testament to how strong the conference is, and how much they have learned from those games.

"We're feeling good about the game," added Hundley. "We know OSU is a strong team, but we're also confident in our team and our ability to perform. We have had several guys step up this season and a few guys who have been unavailable for various reasons should be returning this week and will be fighting for a spot on the weekend. There have been moments this season where we have played tremendously well and if we can put more of those moments together it will certainly be an exciting game."

Aidan King remains an excellent back-rower and Penn State has some power up front to counter the Ohio State scrum. This will be a game to circle.

The Hornets Nest Bowl will be held on Saturday at 7PM ET and will be broadcast live on The Rugby Network

Also on the slate on Saturday will be:

D1 Elite Final: Life vs Lindenwood 1PM ET
Mint City Bowl: Colorado State vs Kentucky 3PM ET
D1 Women CRAA Fall Championship: Navy vs Utah State 5PM ET