The US Naval Academy defeated Penn State 22-17 in the last CRC Cup Quarterfinals Sunday at PPL Park.
Navy were spearheaded by flyhalf Jack McAuliffe, who scored three tries and was brilliant. Penn State, playing their best 7s of their CRC history, pinned Navy in their 22 and sent Blaze Feury over through a pile of tacklers for an early 5-0 lead.
But Navy replied. Nick Hancock sold out his body to take a hit and pass to Ron Helms who ran in untouched under the posts. McAuliffe hit the conversion for a 7-5 Navy lead. Soon it was 12-0, when Navy pummeled thorugh the Penn State inside channels and then sent it wide to McAuliffe, who ran in easily.
Up 12-5 at halftime, Navy still had some work to do. McAuliffe dove in for one more, but then Penn State surged. They battled into the Navy 22 and then they found space for Dom DeFalco to score. Feury hit the conversion to make it 17-12. Then the Lions restarted deep, forcing a knock-on from Navy. With a scrum five meters from the Navy line, Penn State couldn't punch it in. A massive tackle from Justin Lamascus knocked the ball free and then Navy sent it wide to McAuliffe, who did the rest. That was the killer, as Penn State came right back and put Ben Janssen over in the corner. But it wasn't enough.
"We have been working on playing a better brand of 7s," said McAuliffe. [Saturday] in our loss to UCLA we got away from what we've been doing. But the guys are playing well and we feel really good about how our game has developed."
McAuliffe, especially, has been superb, but the team defense is what has seen them through, as well.
This is Navy's best showing in the CRC, as they make the semis, where they play Life.
Tries: McAuliffe 3, Helms
Penn State 17
Tries: Feury, DeFalco, Janssen