WILDCATS BEAT BEARS TO PUNCH FINAL FOUR TICKET
#14 Arizona 48
#16 Baylor 5
Kyle Rogers scored a double to help steer the Wildcats to next week's final four.
Apr 24- Arizona traveled to Texas this weekend to continue their playoff campaign, taking on #16 Baylor in Waco in a National Quarterfinal. As Red River Conference champions, the Wildcats hoped to stop the run that the Bears were on and set out to punch their ticket to the program's first final four.
A tense first ten minutes for both teams was culminated by the Wildcats striking first, as Prop Steven Branham bowled over a Baylor defender to put the visitors up. Branham would make his presence felt early and often, putting Flanker Zach Heisterkamp through a gap before the Flanker from Ohio set up his back row mate Ryan Fitzpatrick for his first try of the postseason and a 12-0 lead after a Luke Thayer conversion. Thayer's 28th minute penalty made it 15-0 before Flyhalf Kyle Rogers broke the Bears' line in the 35th minute and played some give and go with Number Eight Tyler Hansen to make it 22-0 at halftime. Despite the scoreline, Head Coach Sean Duffy and the Wildcats were unimpressed by their effort. "I felt our first half was very mediocre, we took advantage of mistakes and had some good individual efforts where guys worked off the ball, but we felt we could be much better in the second half" said Duffy.
The second half was just that for the Wildcats, as more efficient play led to an early burst of tries. Rogers scored his second and then set up Wing Dante Weeks to make it 36-0 on a beautiful set piece move. The final burst of points would be the sealer for the Wildcats, as Bronson Teles put his fellow Lock Sean Coleman through before Centers Shane Dempsey and Thayer combined with Flanker Ben Scoular to set up Scrumhalf Matt Rogers for the final points to make it 48-0. A Baylor try in the 77th minute was all that the home side would muster, as the Wildcats officially punched their ticket to the final four next week.
"A special moment for our program and for each of these players," said Duffy "we reach this moment on the shoulders of all the alumni that come before us, and our hope is to keep improving each week towards our goal of a national championship." Arizona will now take on #1 Saint Mary's in a national semifinal next week, with BYU and Life squaring off to determine the participants in the May 6th D1A National Championship on CBS Sports Network.
Tries: K. Rogers (2), Branham, Fitzpatrick, Weeks, Coleman, M. Rogers
Conversions: Thayer- 5/7
Penalties: Thayer- 1/1