The BYU Cougars won their 2nd national championship tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium over Arkansas State by the score of 49-42.
Despite a slow start that saw the Cougars down 8-0 in the opening moments of the game the BYU players were able to claw their way back to tie up the match in the 11th minute after flanker Kumi Tua'one barreled over for the Cougars opening try.
BYU was able to score again quickly to take the lead after a quick 22 meter drop out by scrumhalf Shaun Davies that saw him set the BYU attack loose and leave freshman fullback Tua Laei to score following a strong run from center Paul Lasike.
In what proved to be the order to the game, the Red Wolves from Arkansas State wouldn't roll over and kept coming back. And in the 21st minute ASU would score to tie the game again at 15-15.
But BYU's forwards would take over and offer the momentum for Davies and wing Will Taylor to finish the half with scores in the 32nd and 35th minutes respectively.
Two tough conversions by Davies made it 29-15 to BYU at the break.
ASU would start the second with a penalty in the 41st minute following a penalty on BYU from the 2nd half restart, but a clean BYU break from flyhalf Dylan Lubbe, would offer Lasike his lone try on the game in the 48th minute.
On cue however, the Red Wolves revived their attack and would score in the 52nd minute only to be countered by a Davies penalty.
With the penalty goal going into the final quarter of the game BYU led 39-23.
The highlight of the game came as the Cougars were pressuring again with their forwards and Davies deftly pop to prop and eventual match-MVP Mikey Su'a who ran over an ASU defender and lunge for the short range try in the 61st minute.
The score pushed the lead to BYU to 46-23, but ASU wouldn't stop probing for scoring opportunities.
A pair of Red Wolves tries in the 65th and 70th minutes brought them to within 11, but a Davies penalty gave the Cougars the cushion to hold on for the win.
An injury time try by ASU would round out the scoring for a final score of 49-42.
"We've worked all year for this," said match MVP Mikey Su'a, "This is what all the hard work was for and to go out as a senior with a national championship means everything. I'm proud of our team."
BYU head coach David Smyth shared his prop's sentiment.
"This was a great win," Smyth said, "We certainly kept it entertaining for all the fans but in the end our guys did what they needed to do to win and I'm proud of our guys for the hard work. They earned this tonight and I couldn't be happier for them."
The Cougars finish the season with a perfect 17-0 record, a Western Conference Title, the Wasatch Cup and bring the program's 2nd National Championship to Provo.
BYU's momentous victory over the Red Wolves will be rebroadcast on ESNPU May 22nd at 5pm MT and can be viewed online on-demand at ESPN3.
To follow the Cougars' championship events go to Facebook and Twitter.
BYU 1st XV
Ishmael Tilialo (Joey Mount @ 58')
TJ Allred (Mark Bonham @ 65')
Kumi Tua’one (Braden Bair @ 65')
Hynie Leaaetoa (Scott Gowdy @ 65')
Ryan Roundy ©
Jordan Lowry (Malosi Te'o @ 48')
Seki Kofe (Chris Wernli @ 58')
Tua Laei (Austin Allred @ 71')
Tries: Tua'one 11′; Laei 14′; Davies 37′; Taylor 35'; Lasike 48'; Su'a 61'
Conversions: Davies 5/6 (14', 32', 35', 48',61')
Penalties: Davies 3/3 (8', 56', 75')
Tries: ASU 5', 21', 52', 65', 70', 80'
Conversions: ASU 3/6 (21', 70', 80')
Penalties: Cowley 2/3 (2', 41')
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.