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Wisconsin Downs ASU

Sunday Apr 19, 2009 in Amateur Competitions Division II Colleges

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(Wisconsin, in white, bottles up speedy ASU. Alex Goff photo.)

April 19, 2009 – The University of Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 23-11 Sunday to move into the men’s DII college Big Four.

ASU had been impressive in their opening playoff match, using fullback Matt Bulkey to great effect and with prop forward Zach Bahl helping generate plenty of go-forward.

But the Badgers liked go-forward as well and were aggressive and precise in their phase play, calmly putting ASU on their heels. Wing Garrett Donath got Wisconsin going with a try six minutes in and that seemed to shock the Devils somewhat. Bulkey got three back with a penalty but wing Webster Scheble scored right at the end of the first half to make it 10-3 Wisconsin.

The Badgers simply kept up the pressure. With some excellent work from their tight five, they secured ball effectively and Ryan Walter’s early second-half try made it 15-3. All Arizona State could do was get close enough for Bulkley to kick some long-range goals. He missed two, and hit one to make it 15-6. And then just as it seemed Arizona State might close the gap, a long-range movement off a scrum put Donath in for his second. Wing Rashad Saleem did well to bring one back for Arizona State, but it was well into injury time then.

Wisconsin won in part because they were smart. When they needed to kick, they simply avoided kicking it directly to Bulkley, a dangerous counter-attacker. That simple strategy worked wonders.

National Men DII Quarterfinal
Wisconsin 23
Arizona State 11

- Alex Goff © www.erugbynews.com

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