San Diego State returns to the college semis, three years after they made the DI semis.
This time, it’s the D1-AA semis, but still a sterling effort by the Aztecs, as they shook loose a tenacious UC Santa Barbara squad 47-25.
As Head Coach Matt Hawkins predicted, the difference was the last 20 minutes in a weekend where both teams played two tough playoff matches. With 20 minutes to go, San Diego State led 33-18. Then UCSB scored to make it 33-25, and it sat there, so close for both teams, until the final ten minutes, when SD State ran in tries from Thomas Hebard and Frank Ramos, both converted by Kaleikaumaka Konrad to put the game away.
“Against UCSB the guys get very emotionally invested in the game,” said Hawkins. “Both sides played very good rugby. Both sides had opportunities. I think we made more use of the opportunities that we was. But in the final 20 minutes, both teams were really, really tired. It came down to who could do more.”
Hawkins said he had a good feeling about the game in the morning, when his players got up for a warmup session.
“Everybody got up this morning laughing and joking and having a lot of fun,” said Hawkins. “That was a good sign. It told me they were ready to go. In the end I was just really proud of the guys and how, with the game on the line at the end, they didn’t fold it up, they stood up and made a statement.”
San Diego State 47
Tries: Kassen, Shea 2, Ramos 2, Poliakoff, Hebard
Convs: Konrad 6
Tries: Peniston, McHargue, Jennings
Convs: Gallo 2