Florida State capped off its tour through South Florida with a 44-21 defeat of Florida Atlantic Sunday. The Seminoles, who beat Florida International on Saturday, got off to a slow start against the Owls, who took a 14-0 lead to open the contest.
“A lot of the younger guys that haven’t really played back-to-back games before, they weren’t really used to that mental wear and tear that these road trips can take on you,” said fifth-year senior and FSU captain Kennedy Nilsson.
“I think a lot of guys grew up through this experience, and we could see that as the game started to develop, they get comfortable, and they were able to get back into the fundamentals of rugby.”
The Seminoles’ comeback was kick started by No. 8 Jason Kinsley, who stole momentum from the Owls with hard-charging runs through the middle of the field. He bagged a hat-trick of tries Sunday, as did fullback Steve Wertepny. Having scored a pair against FIU on Saturday, Wertepny has dotted down five scores in two league matches.
2-0, Florida State sits atop the new South Independent Rugby Conference, as its two games were the only ones on the league’s books in its opening weekend. Nilsson said the ‘Noles were pleased to travel back to Tallahassee, Fla. with two wins, but that the larger mission is incomplete.
“We’re very excited about 2-0, but what we’re really focusing on is not just the win/loss or the score line, it’s really about the development of these players, setting up a platform for the future. It’s good that we win, but what I would really prefer is that we play to our potential, and when we play to our potential, there are few teams in the South that can compete.”
Florida State’s next opponent, Life, is one of those teams. The Running Eagles visit Tallahassee Saturday.