BYU Rugby: A National Championship three-peat is within the Cougars grasp

BYU against Glendale - Dave Brinton

A win on Saturday against Cal would give the Cougars their third straight National Championship.

Three national titles and nine straight title game appearances will face off against 26 national titles.  BYU and Cal will once again face off with a national title on the line.  BYU is looking to win their third straight title while Cal is looking to get back on top after a two year hiatus.  The two teams have met nine times, with eight of them being for the national title and Cal holds a 7-2 lead.  In the last nine years the only time the two teams haven't played each other for the title was in 2012 when the Cougars beat Arkansas State for their second championship.

Last year the two teams met in the Varsity Cup final at South Field in Provo and Johnny Linehan put on a show.  The Cougars took control early as they took a 16-3 lead as Linehan put up a try and and four penalty kicks.  Cal wasn't about to give up as Russell Webb took advantage of a penalty on the Cougars and pulled within six at 16-10.  It seemed like Cal didn't have an answer for Linehan as he came right back as he notched a fifth penalty kick to make it a two score game.  The two teams traded tries after that to make it 24-17 in the final five minutes of the game.  As the teams fought hard the Bears tied the game with a Seamus Kelly try, sending the teams into injury time without a victor.  With time running out, Linehan again put the team on his shoulders, or foot, and converted a drop goal to give the Cougars the championship.

Look for another close game this year as the teams play on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.  Both teams are familiar with each other and have stellar regular season records as BYU only lost one game and Cal only lost two.  Both teams lost to common opponent St. Mary's.  The Cougars are on an 11-game win streak and are expecting good crowd support for the game.

The game will be at 2 pm on Saturday and tickets are still available at www.varsitycup.us.  For those that can't attend the game, look for it to be televised on NBC Sports Network.

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