In a battle for third place in the Empire Rugby Conference, the Binghamton University Men’s Rugby team faced Syracuse for the Devil’s (3-2) last regular-season home match. With the Orange (2-3) coming off of a 33-17 win over Brockport last week, they were seeking to spoil BU’s homecoming weekend—but their plans would be to no avail as Binghamton would crush Syracuse, 44-13.
“I want us to play like that every day,” senior full back Chris Mallinson said to his squad after the match. “Doesn’t matter if we’re up by two, doesn’t matter if we’re up by 20; play our game [and] get points.”
That “game” the senior captain was talking about featured an explosive offensive explosion by the Devils–capped by a season-high 44 points for the Devils.
The match’s scoring would be kicked off by BU after an early score by senior Bryan Shankman. Shankman would push the ball in for his first of five trys on the day on the heels of Binghamton’s rucking prowess. A successful conversion by senior fly half Kevin Walsh would put the Devils on top under six minutes into the match, 7-0.
Syracuse would try to respond in the 10th minute, but SU would only manage a drop kick, making the score 7-3 with 30 to go in the half.
Meanwhile, the dominant performance by BU’s pack would continue into the 20th minute, as Shankman would drive in his second try of the day against the Orange. Going into the last 20 minutes of the first half, Binghamton would lead SU 12-3.
“They came out really fired up, they came out prepared,” Binghamton head coach Kevin Dublin said of his team. “They put in the extra effort that we keep asking of them.”
Yet, following Shankman’s second try, the Binghamton offense would begin to struggle offensively—failing to find a rhythm in its passing and offensive staggering. The Orange would take advantage of these issues, scoring their first try and conversion of the day to make the score 12-10 at the end of the half.
Following halftime, Syracuse would keep its momentum going. The Orange would score another three off of a drop kick that spanned half of the pitch.
But Binghamton wouldn’t be denied for long.
Senior hooker Tyler Poli would be the one to drive in the Devil’s first try in 30 minutes of game time, giving BU back the lead, 17-13.
In a total change of momentum, the entire Binghamton offense would come storming back with Shankman back in the try zone in the 55th minute–courtesy of a huge run by senior inside center Zack Lenane. Less than four minutes later, Shankman would touch the ball down again—skyrocketing BU’s lead to 27-13 with under 20 to go in the match.
Looking to get on the board, Junior eight man Nick Coppola would surge for a huge Binghamton run in the 61st minute to set up Shankman for his fifth try of the game—a season high.
To insure the win against Syracuse, Lenane would take in a pair of trys late. Lenane’s second would be complimented with a conversion by freshman end wing Brandon Healy to give Binghamton the win, 44-13.
Binghamton is now guaranteed to finish at or above .500 in the 2014 season; a far cry from a 2013 campaign which the Devils finished winless.
The win also makes Binghamton the sole holder of third place in the Empire Rugby Conference. The Devils now control their own destiny as they hit the road to close their season at 1-3 Brockport on October 25th.
In the concluding words of Mallinson to his team Saturday,
“Its all about playoff points boys, playoffs are in sight.”