The University of Colorado garnered revenge for their Saturday loss against Utah, defeating the Utes 14-12 in the final of the Pacific Collegiate 7s to garner an automatic slot at the new national championships this December.
Led by captain, wing and MVP Luke Lahman, the Buffs shut down the Utah attack, and led 14-5 until the final play of the game, when the Utes scored to close the score to 14-12.
Head 7s Coach Charlie Euwema devised a game plan that shut down the key Utah attackers, and used a combination of speed and size, utilizing English brothers Jordan and Dan Kennedy.
“The key for us was to stay strong as a team,” said Euwema. “We couldn’t go into it as a group of individuals, but as one team. This was our best team effort, in this final.”
Euwema said his team had been improving throughout the two-day tournament at Stanford University.
“It’s an adjustment to go from 15s to 7s, but there are some things that translate,” the coach said.
This tournament was one of the highest-quality and most hotly-contested of the fall collegiate 7s season. Colorado had to work for it to edge UCLA in the semifinals 17-14 – the Bruins were pipped from glory for the second week in a row.
UCLA took third over University of Washington, which is another team that has improved greatly over a short period. UW lost their first two matches at the Northwest Collegiate 7s last week, before winning their next two to take the Plate.
At Stanford the Huskies, coached by former Eagles Jeremy Nash, upset Arizona, crushed Washington State, and defeated Stanford to make the semis.
Colorado joins BYU, Central Washington, Texas A&M, Life University, Tennessee, NC State, Miami (OH), and Wisconsin as automatic qualifiers to the national tournament.