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NC State Over VMI in Cardinals

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NC State Over VMI in Cardinals

NC State edged VMI 35-27 Saturday in a clash of the two undefeated teams in the Cardinals Men’s DII conference.

The result of the game is that NC State will go into the playoffs with the #1 seed, but it’s also likely that these two teams will meet in the conference final.

It was a hard-nosed, physical game, but not always tidily played. The rucks were a bit of a free-for-all at times, but both teams put full effort into the contest.

VMI had much of the run of play in the first half, but gave up some key breaks to the Wolfpack that would end up hurting them.

“We let them through three times in the first half and they scored on two of them,” lamented VMI Wayne Howe. 

NC State used their strength in the scrum to shove VMI back, and Amani Manning broke through for a key 70-meter try and had the VMI defense scrambling.

In the second half, NC State started to pull away, only to see VMI claw back.

“This was a good, tough game,” said NC State Head Coach Brian Ketchem. “VMI is fit and strong and physical and we needed some big plays. But in the end it was our pack’s defense, just staying on the defensive line, that saved the day.”

Howe agreed.

“We played well, but they made fewer mistakes than we did,” added Howe, who got big games from flanker Peter Chapin and lock Sam Mueller. “They just didn’t make mistakes on defense and held the line.”

Some key errors hurt VMI, for sure, and Howe said his team is looking forward to getting another shot at the Wolfpack in the playoffs.