For the second week in a row, Texas scored a late game-winning try to stay undefeated in the Allied Rugby Conference. This time, the Longhorns jumped out to a 22-5 lead by halftime and surrendered three-straight tries to Texas Tech before scoring to win 27-22 in Lubbock, Texas.
The Longhorns absorbed an early wave of physicality from the large Red Raiders and ran in four first-half tries to Tech’s one. But the Red Raiders didn’t stop asking questions, though Texas stopped answering.
“We fell asleep. Just mental errors,” said Texas coach Chris Hopps. “Just kind of dumb 50/50 passes, a lack of intensity and mental discipline.”
Tech tied the game at 22 with about 15 minutes left on the clock. Texas regained the lead after fullback Taylor Hayes broke away for a 65-meter run before being wrangled to ground. The Longhorns recycled quickly and reversed field again. Lock Tommy Gilmore was on the perimeter and ran in his second try of the day to put Texas out 27-22.
Texas took the restart, Tech turned the ball over, and the Longhorns wrestled it back before clearing to touch to end the game.
Texas came back to beat Oklahoma with a score at the death last week. Hopps attributes the late wins to conditioning put in place by head coach Butch Neuenschwander.
“Fitness has shown through. Butch works really hard on fitness, and in the last 10 minutes of the game we’ve been stronger than everyone we’ve faced,” he said.
“We came out pretty fast, thought we had the game in hand and I think the guys just took the pedal off the gas. Tech is full of big, physical guys, so if you give them any kind of momentum, they’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
The Longhorns host also undefeated Texas A&M Friday night in Austin for Allied Rugby Conference supremacy. The Aggies beat Baylor 82-3 Saturday. In the ARC’s third match of the weekend, Oklahoma beat Sam Houston State 86-29.
Author's note: A quirky set of circumstances left the DI-A league game without a referee. Neuenschwander made a run to a local sporting goods store to pick up some reffing kit and carried the whistle for the Texas vs. Tech women's game so its assigned referee could ref the DI-A match. This a day after Neuenschwander crawled under the Texas team bus to repair the heating on the Longhorns' 10-hour trip to Lubbock. Austin to Lubbock usually takes seven. Butch must live at a Holiday Inn Express.