California vs PSU Penn State - Collegiate Rugby Championship

In American rugby there is Cal and everyone else. For the first three years of the CRC, everyone else ended up on top (Utah in 2010 and Dartmouth in 2011 & 2012). Then, in 2013, Cal broke through and have not looked back. Four consecutive titles have the Golden Bears in a league all their own. But Cal enters the 2017 CRC in unique circumstances. In victory at the Varsity Cup, securing the fifteens national title, Cal suffered a serious injury that has left one of the valued members of the Cal rugby family in serious condition.

Despite heavy hearts, Cal looked as methodical as ever against a tough Penn State squad. The Golden Bears struck first with a try and conversion from captain Russell Webb. The Nittany Lions soon leveled the contest with a converted try from Mike Dabulas. Cal went back ahead when Jake Goena dotted one down. Webb again hit the conversion. Goena’s half was not done, however, as he added a second try to send the team’s to halftime. The tough conversion slipped over the crossbar for the two-pointer, making it 21–7 at halftime.

Penn State scored first in the second half on the back of an excellent dummy by Joe Kelly followed by Kelly turning on the jets and hitting the corner. The angle proved too much for Dabulas on the conversion attempt, leaving the Golden Bears ahead by two scores. A penalty on Cal at the restart further opened the door for a Penn State come back. After avoiding disaster with Penn State threatening, Cal’s Sam Cusano exploded down the left wing for a try under the post. Webb’s conversion with under two minutes left, all but secured the win. With just under a minute left, Cal conceded a yellow card, but Penn State needed to score three tries in under fifty seconds. Whatever remote hope the Nittany Lions had ended with a penalty at the cal five-meter line. Penn State did add a consolation try under the post with sever seconds left from Kevin Trotter. The quick conversion made it 28–19.