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Shutout Win Launches Kansas To HOA Top

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Shutout Win Launches Kansas To HOA Top

Photo courtesy GTH Images

The University of Kansas put in a very impressive 34-0 shutout of Iowa this past weekend and the Jayhawks are in excellent position in the Heart of America DIAA Conference.

Iowa came into the game 3-0 having beaten Kansas State, Iowa State, and Nebraska, but could not break through a very tight Kansas defense. With the victory, KU moved to 3-0 in the Heart of America, having shut out Oklahoma State 57-0 and beaten Iowa State 31-12.

(Photos by GTH Images)

It was a rainy day and Kansas started early, with flyhalf Chandler Owens slicing in from short range. That made it 5-0 and it stayed that way until the final ten minutes of the first half, when Owens intercepted an Iowa pass and raced in from 22 meters out. Fulback Sam Gasparovich converted.

After pressuring the Hawkeyes for a while, Kansas opted to take a shot at goal after a penalty. Gasparovich slotted the kick and Kansas led 15-0.

Iowa held firm for about 20 minutes in the second half, but then Gasparovich tapped quickly on a penalty and scampered ahead before flanker and captain Blake Mitton picked up and dove over. Frustration hit Iowa as the game wrapped up, with a red card putting the Hawkeyes down a player for the final five minutes or so. Kansas put No. 8 Isaac Schmidt and center Tom Oliver over in the closing minutes. Gasparovich converted both.

"We're definitely happy with the shutout," said Kansas Head Coach Matt Schwartz. "No complaints. The line speed has really improved and around the rucks the pillar and posts and positioning are good."

Schwartz said the team's depth has been a big part of the Jayhawks' success.

"All around we've competitive and we've got competition for spots," said Schwartz. "It's a full 23-player effort, and in fact the four or five guys who don't make the 23-man squad. We're getting more and more players who have three or four years of experience in high school. They come from the Kansas City area but also Chicago, Denver, and California, and it's been really good for us."

The team has also benefited from some cooperation with the University on exchange programs. The team has been able to find an academic exchange program that also puts the student in a rugby-rich environment. And the same goes for exchange students at Kansas—four such exchange students are with the Jayhawks right now.

Leading the way is the captain, Mitton, who sets the tone, and prop Ian O'Laughlin, who has been one of the key leaders.

There's still work to be done, though. Kansas has Missouri and K-State still to play.

Missouri, especially has looked strong, and thanks to two tries from wing Alec Cavanaugh and tries from props Justin Reynolds and Sean Corey, the Tigers beat Kansas State 36-5 over the weekend.

 

Heart of America W L T PF PA PD BT BL PTS
Kansas 3 0 0 126 12 114 3 0 15
Iowa 3 1 0 85 52 33 2 0 14
Missouri 2 1 0 70 32 38 2 1 11
Iowa State 2 2 0 68 55 13 1 1 10
Kansas State 1 2 0 61 67 -6 1 0 5
Oklahoma State 1 2 0 27 97 -70 1 0 5
Nebraska 0 2 0 17 67 -50 0 0 0
Truman State 0 2 0 15 83 -68 0 0 0

 

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