It took a half and overcoming a two player deficit, but the Titans men’s rugby team was able to run away with the game, 21-0, over the visiting UC San Diego Tritons Friday night at Titan Stadium.
The Titans were able to score late and often, pulling away in the second half with three great runs, two by right wing Christian Abson. Using their stellar defense to keep the Tritons at bay, the Titans started the season on a high note.
“In the first half we made a lot of mistakes and even though we were down two players to a good team with a couple of big yellow cards, the guys just rallied back with a lot of heart and we just stopped making a lot of silly mistakes,” said Titan’s forward coach Keri Adams.
“We actually scored two tries being down 13-15 players on the field which is pretty impressive,”Adams added.
The Titans came out strong out of the gates, driving down the field to start the match, but were stopped short by the Tritons defense.
It was a tug-of-war from there on as the Tritons took possession and drove down the field.
Cal State Fullerton forced UC San Diego to kick, and the Triton’s Will O’Sullivan was unsuccessful, which kept the score tied.
The Tritons were on the march again 28 minutes into the match, but were stopped short again and forced to kick once again on which O’Sullivan was unsuccessful in converting once more as the score remained tied.
With the first half ending, the Titans escaped a near-costly error as they lost control of the ball in their own backfield as the Tritons were attempting to scoop it up and run in for the score. Fullerton was able to kick the ball out of bounds at the last minute to go into halftime tied at zero.
Things changed like night to day for the Titans in the second half as they brought an offensive onslaught that they never let up from start to finish.
After knocking a Triton player out with a huge hit in the first five minutes, the Titans capitalized on the moment and were able to break through with the first score of the match in minute 45. After a successful extra point kick, the Titans went up 7-0.
Fullerton kept the pace up as eight minutes later, as Abson took a pass from a teammate by midfield and took it in for the score.
After another successful extra point kick, the Titans extended their lead to 14-0.
“(My teammate) gave me a good pass and that’s what happens when we get in that situation, we beat the first man and gave us a two on one then he gave me a good pass and we took it,” said Abson, a psychology and child and adolescent development major.
Abson struck again in minute 61 of the match. He got a great pass from a teammate on the far right side of the field to outrun the defense once more, extending their lead to 21-0 after another successful extra point kick.
The Tritons never made a run in the second half until the end of the match when they drove down the field, but were stopped short on two great tackles by Abson just short of scoring.
“The things we did on the field are the things we do in practice every day so we practice the way we play and we came out aggressive,” said Titan Forward Daniel Arambula, a mechanical engineering major. “We improved a lot in the second have and we just kept our heads up and kept moving forward.”
For more information regarding the men’s rugby team, visit Fullerton.edu/ClubSports/ClubTeams/MensRugby.asp