Texas scored the biggest win of the early Southwest Conference season with a 44-10 defeat of reigning Texas Rugby Union champ Texas State Friday under the lights in Austin.
Last season, Texas State took two of three against the Longhorns to claim a Sweet 16 spot – something Texas hasn’t forgotten.
“The last match of the season, the winner goes to the Sweet 16, they destroyed us. Of anybody, I felt the worst. It’s a point in your coaching career when you go, ‘You know, I did not do my job. I let the team down. I did not prep the guys very well,’” said Texas coach Butch Neuenschwander.
“You might say I’ve been prepping for Friday night’s game for almost eight months.”
The Longhorns led the lion’s share of the contest, taking a 17-5 advantage into halftime.
“They found some of our weak spots and some of our downfalls and exploited them,” said Texas State coach Scot Courtney.
“We have some players that were out of position that we’ve had to kind of shuffle around due to injuries. No excuse, because I think they were in the same boat as well, but they clearly did it better than we did.”
Freshman Taylor Hayes, normally a fullback, played well at flyhalf in the absence of injured star Eric Liukens for the second-straight week. Courtney was impressed with Hayes, who created opportunities for his teammates.
“He’s well versed in rugby, very elusive,” said Neuenschwander. “Not a big kid, but just unbelievable vision on the pitch, where he can see a hole and he can make hole. He can make a gap better than anyone we’ve seen.”
Also standing out Friday was hooker Alex Mendoza, named man of the match after scoring a pair of tries for Texas.
“His open field play, and Scot would tell you this, he scorched their winger,” doted Neuenschwander. “He was one of those kids that went and played for us in the CRC. I was going to put him in our backline this year, but I knew we needed to go big against State, and Mendoza had probably the best match I’ve ever seen him play against State.”
With the win, Texas improves to 2-0 in SWC play. The entire conference is on a lull the next two weeks, as the Texas Rugby Union college all-star team heads to Kansas City, Kan. for the West College All-Star tournament.