Penn State ran out to a big early lead and survived a disjointed second half to defeat the University of Delaware 30-17 in D1-A Rugby East play.
This was Penn State’s league opener, and they go to 1-0, while Delaware drops to 0-2.
“We made things far too easy for Penn State and they are too good to let us get away with it,” said Delaware Head Coach Bjorn Haglid. “We didn’t really perform well as a team, so while we had a few good individual performances, how good were they if we weren’t playing as a team?”
Penn State scored four tries in the first half, with flanker Dan Metcalf, flyhalf Blaze Feury, No. 8 Mike Erickson, and flanker Sean Herbert all touching down. Joe Baker added two conversions for a 24-5 PSU lead at halftime.
Delaware saw their starting hooker go down with mono, and scrambled to nail down their lineout precision as a result. Lock Glen Thommes provided one highlight from the lineout, however, nabbing a throw and rambling 30 meters for the Blue Hens’ only score.
In the second half, Delaware righted the ship somewhat, and Penn State, hit by a couple of yellow cards, struggled.
“We got away from our pattern,” said Penn State Head Coach Don Ferrell. “It’s something you work on, to stay within the pattern, but we started to try to play wide when it wasn’t the time to do it, and we paid for it. Delaware are very scrappy and they came back at use.”
Center Chris Mattina, like Thommes a freshman, scored two tries and converted one for Delaware, while all Penn State could manage were two Joe Baker penalties. But it was enough.
“First game of the league season, we’ll take it,” said Ferrell. “It was all in all a good day. Our lineout was strong and something we can build from. Now we take the lessons from this and look ahead to Navy.”
“The winter was pretty rough; you’re inside most of the time, but lately it’s been really nice and we were able to be outside all week,” added Penn State captain and scrumhalf Chris Saint. “We’ve been really working on sticking to our pattern of play, and then just tightening up our defense. We saw we had a couple of holes that showed up against BYU. That was why we went to play them, to see what the standard is we’ve got to get there. We know this league will be competitive.”
Penn State 30
Tries: Metcalf, Feury, Erickson, Herbert
Convs: Baker 2
Pens: Baker 2
Tries: Thommes, Mattine 2