BYU led the charge into the Varsity Cup semifinals with a 69-8 shellacking on UCLA’s own field on Saturday. The three other quarterfinals ended in similar fashion.
Central Washington, which will be the Cougars’ semifinal opponent on Saturday at 1 p.m. at South Field, smashed Air Force 81-28. In Maryland, fellow military officers Navy fared better, beating Dartmouth 32-0. Cal had the biggest victory of the weekend, traveling across the country to obliterate Notre Dame 77-0.
Not that BYU head coach David Smyth was impressed.
“We were a little rusty not having played in three weeks,” Smyth said in a press release. “At the start of the game I thought were were just doing enough, UCLA played very well defensively and they contested every phase. (UCLA head coach) Scott Stewart has really done a great job with his guys and they played confidently throughout the game.”
Three of BYU’s 10 tries came from Chris Wernli. Teammate Jonny Linehan had two while Luke Mocke, Kyle Sumsion, Jordan Lowry and Andrew Carver each had one.
“We weren’t as effective as we should have been in the first half,” said BYU captain Ryan Roundy. “It’s been a couple weeks since we played, so we were making a couple miscues that normally I don’t think our guys would typically make. But in the end we were able to get it sorted and get back into a bit of a groove and keep them from scoring in the first half.”
The Cougars will now prepare for Central Washington, which replaced Utah as the eighth team in the Varsity Cup.
“Proud of the way the team played and responded to a physical opponent in Air Force,” Pacheco said. “We will need to be more accurate going into BYU and certainly look forward to another great Varsity Cup competition.”
BYU did not play them in 2013, but did beat them 76-7 on a neutral field in 2012.
“CWU is a quality rugby program,” Smyth said on Saturday. “They beat Air Force confidently today and have some play makers in the backline and the forwards. We’ll have to be on our best this week.”
BYU’s South Field will host the championship game on May 4. The BYU-CWU winner will play the victor of the Cal-Navy game at Berkley, Calif.