CATS GET BACK ON TRACK

#14 Arizona 77 
#19 texas A&m 17



 

Turpen 1.jpg

Abe Turpen and Arizona touched down 11 times in the impressive victory. (Photo credits: Josh Pearson)

Mar 7- With a challenging schedule featuring ranked teams every week, the Wildcats have been tested early against the likes of some of the best in the country. If Saturday is any indication, the lessons learned from those games are starting to produce results that will benefit the Wildcats in the short and long term. Arizona would have to work for the result as Texas A&M traveled to Tucson for the first in a two-game series.

In the first half, the reconfigured backline produced early results as Wing Jacob Broselle charged down a kick to open the scoring, followed by a Maxime Cathala linebreak off of a stolen lineout ot make it 14-7. A&M would respond, tying the game at 14-14 on a chargedown of their own, and sending a message to the hosts that the Red River Conference Champions would not back down. Two Cathala penalties for six of his 25 points on the day helped give the Wildcats a cushion before a James Rivers try made it 27-17 at the break.

Director of Rugby Sean Duffy said a slightly different halftime routine may have sparked a change. "Usually at halftime I'm the first voice they hear. But a couple guys who aren't usually vocal started in right away. I kept my mouth shut. They covered 90% of what I wanted to cover, and it means more coming from them than from me. It changed the attitude of the team in 60 seconds" said Duffy.

Those results were immediate for Arizona, as they worked their way into the Aggies' 22 and took advantage of a penalty to send Texas native and Freshman Mattox King over for his first try on a quick tap in the 41st minute. Soon after a well-worked lineout move in the Aggies' half put Wing Elijah Palmer over for his first try in his debut to make it 41-17 and open things up for the hosts. The onslaught of tries continued with eight in the half, part of a 50-0 second half margin. Among them were two scores from standout Hooker Zach Barker, a pick and jam try from EJ Freeman, and first career tries from Center Abe Turpen and Flanker/Hooker Cameron Blair. 

"We're getting some key guys back from injury, we're starting to clean things up in attack and defense, and our young guys are starting to really grow as a group. Developing individually is great. But if they don't learn to play off each other and play within a system, they're just good athletes in an ok team. For us to take the next step, they must grow together. I'm also thankful to our seniors, who have been through so much the past two years and had their last home game. They grew up right before our eyes and helped move us along as a program just like the alumni did before them." said Duffy. 

Arizona 2nd XV also took care of business on Saturday, recording a shutout victory over Texas A&M 2nd XV to move to 2-1 on the year behind standout performances from Wing Antonio Gonzalez, Flyhalf Sebastian Hickey, and Flanker Jack Radachy. 

The Wildcats now head in to a bye week for Spring Break before returning to action against BYU on the road March 19th.

 

Both matches can be replayed below.

 

First XV vs Texas A&M

 

Second XV vs Texas A&M 2nd XV
 

SCORING vs TEXAS A&M

Tries: 11- Barker (2), Broselle, Cathala, Rivers, King, Palmer, Turpen, Freeman, Blair, Pen Try

Conversions: Cathala- 7/9 , R. Figley- 0/2

Penalties: Cathala- 2/2

ROSTER vs TEXAS A&M

1- Seamus McCarthy

2- Zach Barker

3- Dalton Slaughter

4- Jack Brown

5- James Rivers (C)

6- Cameron Blair

7- EJ Freeman

8- Tyler Heer

9- Maxime Cathala

10- Lucas Agasse

11- Elijah Palmer

12- Mattox King

13- Abe Turpen

14- Jacob Broselle

15- Solomon Hutchings

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16- Mustafa Khaled

17- Harry Bluck

18- Aidan Docherty

19- Jack McCrossin

20- Matthew Start

21- PJ Coco

22- Robert Figley

23- Antonio Gonzalez