by Travis Normand
February 19, 2020
(Note: Some of the following information is repetitive; however, the point was to view the information through several different lenses and thus the information is somewhat repetitive.)
The Aggies and Longhorns will face-off for the second time this 2019-2020 season when they play this Saturday, February 22 at 3 p.m. The game will be at Aveva Stadium in Houston; home of the USMLR’s Houston Sabercats (and will be followed by the Sabercats’ game against Washington D.C.’s Old Glory).
This will be the Aggies last Red River Rugby Conference (RRRC) game of the season, and the Aggies are looking to gain all five (5) points (4 points for the win; plus one bonus point) in order to secure their place on top of the RRRC’s table. While the Aggies currently have 25 points (out of a possible total of 30), Oklahoma is right behind them with 20 points and two games to go. In other words, both the Aggies and Sooners could end up tied with 30 points each at the end of the season.
For the Longhorns, this match against A&M will be their second-to-last RRRC game of the season (as they play Baylor on Feb. 29). In the RRRC, the Longhorns are currently (2-2) with their only two wins coming over the same opponent (LSU).
The Aggies and Longhorns met earlier this season on November 2, 2019; and the Aggies won that match 36-12. After the match, it was reported that despite the win by A&M, the Longhorns were clearly improving as a team; however, that hasn’t really shown to be accurate. Having said that, this weekend’s match (Feb. 22, 2020) will go a long way to demonstrating whether or not the Longhorns have improved at all.
Comparing the 2019-2020 Aggies and Longhorns:
The Aggies and Longhorns share one non-RRRC opponent in BYU. The Aggies lost at home to the Cougars 73-8, while the Longhorns lost at home to the Cougars by a score of 95-0. It is hard to take much away from these two scores other than the fact that BYU is a great team and neither the Aggies or Longhorns are ready to challenge them. However, if I was into splitting hairs, I would take the Aggies’ 65-point loss over the 95-0 shut-out.
The better measuring stick between the Aggies and Longhorns would be to review their performance in the RRRC this season.
(1) Longhorns: 2019-2020 RRRC Schedule:
- Texas A&M (Loss) 12-36;
- LSU (Win) 48-19;
- Oklahoma (Loss) 3-57;
- LSU (Win) 48-31;
- Texas A&M; and
As you can see, the Longhorns are 2-2 in the RRRC, and they have two games to go. In their four games played so far, both wins came against LSU while their loses were against Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
If you total all points scored by or against the Longhorns, the Longhorns have been outscored 111-143 in RRRC play. However, the total combined score in the Longhorns’ two wins is 96-50, while the total combined score is 15-93 in the two losses.
It is also interesting to note that the Longhorns scored the same amount of points each time they played LSU (48); however, in their first game against the Tigers (in Baton Rouge), the Longhorns managed to hold them to 19-points, but in their second match (in Austin) the Tigers scored 31. I am not entirely sure if the Tigers got better offensively, or if the Longhorns got worse defensively, but something clearly changed in favor of the Tigers and it allowed them to go from scoring 19 points (in Baton Rouge) to 31 points (on the road, in Austin).
(2) Texas Aggies: 2019-2020 RRR Schedule:
- Longhorns (Win) 36-12;
- Baylor (Win) 30-17;
- LSU (Win) 44-12;
- LSU (Win) 48-7;
- Texas Tech (Win) 71-0; and
Comparing how the Aggies have fared against RRRC opponents, in contrast to the Longhorns, yields some telling information.
For starters, the Longhorns lost to Oklahoma by 54-points (3-57), however the Aggies have not played the Sooners (and are not scheduled to do so unless they meet in the conference championship on March 28, 2020). In fact, some might argue that my point analysis above, where I reviewed total points scored by and against the Longhorns this season, would be better if it didn’t include the Longhorns’ score against the Sooners (since the Aggies and Sooners have not played). However, if I were to remove that score from the analysis, I would be left with only three games/scores for the Longhorns (two against LSU and one against A&M) and for that reason I included the Oklahoma score in the Longhorns’ total.
As a point of reference, Oklahoma is obviously a RRRC team and also played a non-RRRC game against then No. 3 ranked Lindenwood (similar to how A&M and the Longhorns both played BYU). Oklahoma lost to Lindenwood by a score of 0-71, faring equally with how both the Longhorns and Aggies fared in their games against BYU. However, Oklahoma has played a somewhat different RRRC schedule as compared to the Aggies and Longhorns, in that Oklahoma has played Texas Tech and UNT, and will not play LSU at all (the Longhorns do not play Texas Tech, while the Aggies did; and neither the Longhorns or Aggies play UNT). For this reason, while I understand the argument that the Oklahoma game should not be included in the point comparison and leaving it out would yield a more comparable result between the Aggies and Longhorns; if removed, we are not left with much to compare and thus I disagree that the result would be more comparable.
Next, over the course of five RRRC games this season, the Aggies are 5-0 and have scored a combined point total of 229-48; with the lowest amount of points scored by the Aggies being 30 points against Baylor on November 9, 2019.
In comparing how the Aggies did against LSU (who the Aggies and Longhorns have both played and defeated twice), the Aggies scored 44 and 48 points against the Tigers (compared to the Longhorns scoring 48 in both of their victories). The Aggies held the Tigers to only 12 points in the first game (in Baton Rouge) and then only 7 in the second game (in College Station).
The Aggies closest RRRC game so far this season was against Baylor who the Longhorns have not yet played.
Finally, the Aggies dismantled Texas Tech by a score of 71-0. The Longhorns do not play Texas Tech this season, as they played Oklahoma instead (see above). This scheduling is due to the odd number of teams in the RRRC this season (7) and is also designed to help with travel considerations. Therefore, each of the three “southern” RRRC teams (Longhorns, Aggies, and LSU) each play one game against one of the three “northern” teams (Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and UNT); while Baylor (the “central” team) plays everyone in the RRRC once.
However, if we want to revisit the Oklahoma score against the Longhorns, it could be viewed as a positive for the Longhorns if we look at it in terms of how both did against their one northern RRRC opponent. For example, while the Aggies shut-out the Raiders 71-0, the Raiders are winless in RRRC play (0-5) and are second-to-last in the standings, ahead of only LSU. On the other hand, while the Longhorns lost handedly to the Sooners by a score of 57-3, the Sooners are in second place in the RRRC (and could very likely be tied for first when its all said and done).
So, at face value, A&M appears to have dominated their northern opponent while the Longhorns did not. However, I am not sure that dominating Texas Tech is a good measuring stick for A&M, and the fact that the Longhorns traveled to Norman, Oklahoma and held the Sooners to less than 60 (something the Raiders could not do against A&M) gives a little indication that the Longhorns at least showed up to play.
Longhorns, Tigers, and Aggies … Oh My!
- Longhorns at LSU (Win) 48-19; and
- Longhorns vs. LSU (Win) 48-31.
- Aggies at LSU (Win) 44-12; and
- Aggies vs. LSU (Win) 48-7.
The Aggies and Longhorns won both of their games against LSU with each playing their first match in Baton Rouge and their second at home; and both teams scored 44-48 points per game (Aggies Avg. 46; Longhorns Avg. 48) against the Tigers.
Therefore, the real difference is what LSU was able to do in their second game against each opponent. Against the Longhorns, LSU was only able to score 19 points at home, but later went on the road and scored 31. However, against the Aggies, the Tigers scored 12 at home (7 less than what the scored against the Longhorns), and then only managed to score 7 points on the road in College Station (24 less than what they were able to score on the road in Austin).
RRRC Average Scoring:
Longhorn Defense vs. Aggie Offense:
Over the course of this 2019-2020 season, the Longhorns have allowed a total of 143 points in their four RRRC games (which is an average of 35.75 points per game). On the other hand, the Aggies have scored a total of 228 points in five RRRC games for an average of 45.6 per game.
Longhorn Offense vs. Aggie Defense:
Further, the Longhorns have scored a total of 111 points over four RRRC games for an average of 27.75 per game. However, the Aggies have only allowed a total of 48 over five RRRC games for an average of 9.6 per game.
In other words, the Aggie defense only allowing an average of 9.6 points per game might be the story to watch for in this upcoming game against the Longhorns.
Longhorn players to watch for:
- Theo Renouard: Has only played in two XVs games this season (against LSU and A&M, both in November) but in those two games he scored a combined total of 25 points (1 try and 1 conversion against A&M; and 2 trys and 4 conversions against LSU); also, Theo was named to the 2019 Red River Rugby Collegiate Conference 7s Championship All-Tourney Team … however I cannot find any records of him playing in a game this Spring semester (?).
- Patrick “Jimbo” Swanson: Played at started in four games this season (Texas A&M, LSU x2, and Oklahoma).
- Joshua Burich: Played in four games this season and has scored three trys (15 points), all against LSU.
- Joseph Jancaus: Played and started in five games this season and has scored three trys (15 points), all against LSU.
- Nicholas Navarro: Played and started in five games this season and has scored 7 points against LSU (1 try and 1 conversion).
- Maxwell John Palmer: Played and started in five games this season and has scored 9 points against LSU (1 try and 2 conversions).
- Muiris Rowsome: Played in five games, and started in four, scoring a total of 20 points (3 trys, 1 conversion, and 1 PK, all against LSU).
- Christopher Wyatt: Played and started three games this season, scoring 2 trys (10 points) against LSU.
The game will also apparently be streamed on FTFNext.com.