It was Bears over Utes in Glendale, Colorado Saturday afternoon as Cal rugby steamrolled Utah 62-14 to win the day's first College Premier League Division semifinal match. The win sets up a Cal-BYU chamionship next week.
The Bears effectively smothered the Utes' scoring efforts by holding flyhalf Thretton Palamo and scrumhalf Don Pati in check.
Cal jumped out of the gates early, taking just two minutes for senior prop James Besser to propel himself over the tryline after a pick-and-go. Facing a cold rain and wind, senior flyhalf James Bailes missed the conversion, but capitalized upon a Utah penalty six minutes later to make the score 8-0.
Utah then gathered strength in a move by Kave Lauti who dotted down a converted try in the 15th minute. The 8-7 scoreline was the closest the Utes ever got to the Bears.
Cal's eightman Danny Barrett snatched a try from a baubled Utah lineout which was then converted by Bailes. Barrett then had a ten-minute visit to the sin bin as punishment for a late tackle.
Being a man down, however, didn't slow the Bears' momentum. Senior winger Dustin Muhn returned a Utah kick to motor down the open side 'til reaching the Utes' red zone, then passed the pill to Blaine Scully for the first of Scully's two tries on the day.
By the time senior lock Jason Law touched down another Cal try in the left corner to make the score 29-7, the Bears returned to full strength. It was strength in the backfield that gave Cal two more tries -- another by Scully and one by junior winger James McTurk.
At the half, Cal led 43-7.
The Bears used the second half to rotate in their reserves, including freshman Paul Bosco at scrumhalf, first-year Jake Anderson at fullback, and junior Alex Aronson at flyhalf.
Senior center Sean Gallinger stayed in to notch two more Cal tries in the 53rd and 79th minutes. Gallinger's scores bookended the half with offsetting tries by Cal's sophomore center Seamus Kelly at minute 58, answered by Utah flanker Timote Houma in the73rd..
By the fulltime whistle, blew the scorelline stood at 62-14.
Cal goes on to face BYU, the winner of the day's second semifinal match. The Cougars took down the Arkansas State Red Wolves 36-15.