Mizzou Downs Illinois in First Match with Impressive Offensive Attack
The Tigers’ first match of the season was a neutral site matchup in St. Louis for a friendly against the University of Illinois. They came into the match hoping to make a statement against a D1-A opponent out of the traditionally very strong Big Ten Conference. Mizzou’s starting 15 was comprised of 11 returning starters from last years team. The Tigers started fast, scoring in the first 6 minutes on an interception by wing Ty Nash on which he beat 2 defenders down the sideline and finished for the try. The Tigers got the ball back and swung it to the back line where fullback Shane Glascott dummy passed to the wing and took it 50 meters for a try. The Tigers led 12-0 before the Illini answered with an interception of their own for an easy score. On the next possession, the Tigers used a few breaks to possession themselves near the Illini goal line before scrumhalf J.T. Schlegel quickly picked the ball from the ruck and dove in for the short try between the posts. The Tigers found themselves in the same position on the Illini goal line just a few minutes later. A penalty set up the Tigers 10 meters out before flanker Adam Cooley ran over an Illini defender for the try. The Tigers led 26-7 before Illinois answered with two quick tries of their own courtesy of some lazy defense from Mizzou. At the half, Mizzou led Illinois 27-17.
Shane Glascott opened the second half with another long try making multiple defenders miss along the way. The Tigers controlled possession extremely well in the second half, getting the ball deep into Illini territory before J.T. Schlegel showed off his awareness with another quick pick from the ruck and dove in for the try. Mizzou began to pull away as inside center Colin Kreager broke free for one of his many long runs in the game before outside center Blake Ollar alertly secured the ball and dove into the try zone to put the Tigers up 47-7. After an Illini try and conversion, flyhalf Gareth Jones made a long break supported by Mickey Watson who ultimately powered it in for the try. Again on the opposing goal line, James Glavin ran through an Illini defender for the final try of the game. Gareth Jones completed an impressive 8 of 9 conversions for a final score of 61-24 Tigers.
The St. Louis Bombers who hosted the game at Lucier Park hope to make the Mizzou vs. Illinois game an annual rivalry. The bombers handed out the following awards at the end of the game: Back of the Match: J.T. Schlegel; Forward of the Match: Adam Cooley; Honorable Mention: James Glavin; Overall MVP: Shane Glascott
The Tigers begin preparing for their first Heart of America conference matchup on October 17th against Kansas State.