Illinois club rugby falls to Ohio State

After+retrieving+the+ball+from+the+scrum%2C+Mario+Lozano+drop+kicks+the+ball+down+the+field+during+the+game+against+Minnesota+at+the+Complex+Fields+on+Saturday%2C+October+17.

Daily Illini File Photo

After retrieving the ball from the scrum, Mario Lozano drop kicks the ball down the field during the game against Minnesota at the Complex Fields on Saturday, October 17.

By Brian Binz, Contributing writer

The Ohio State club rugby team powered past the Illini on Saturday behind a quick start. 

The Buckeyes used the Illini’s own aggression against them, converting penalties into points. Ohio State’s first score came after a penalty, and the Illini dropped the match, 59-0, at the Florida and Lincoln Avenue playing fields. 

“They’re instantly offsides, and (we scored) two minutes in,” Ohio State head coach Tom Rooney said.

The Buckeyes stifled the Illini offense and added tries by Brandon Heidinger, Matt Stauder, Nathan Heister, John Walsh, Kevin Fessenmeyer and Jaime Barlow to go up 35-0 at the end of the first half.

Penalties continued to stop Illinois offensively and crippled them defensively. 

“If we didn’t have as many penalties as we did, it would have been a much different match,” senior flanker Richard Daniels said.

Frustration seemed to boil over in the second half, as not only did the penalties continue, but the Illini also received a yellow card and had to play a man down for 10 minutes.

“A lot of people have impulses; sometimes we’re just too tenacious, and that results in penalties,” said Daniels, who is also the club’s president. “That’s what we need to eliminate, make sure we’re mentally focused and mentally calm.”

Rooney also noticed the aggressiveness of Illinois.

“(They are a) tenacious team around the tackles — sometimes they put themselves at a disadvantage, and we noted that,” Rooney said.

The Illini were also beaten up physically. Multiple starters exited the game with injuries, while all Ohio State players remained healthy.

Daniels was not worried about the team’s health going forward. He said that they can bounce back and that the injuries are not too serious. 

The Buckeyes improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play and are tied for first in the conference standings. The Illini dropped their second-straight conference match, moving to 1-2.

Illinois will face Minnesota next weekend, who are also at 1-2 and lost to Wisconsin this weekend. 

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