Michigan Blanks Findlay, 68-0

posted Oct 15, 2012, 8:43 AM by Karl Seibert
29 September, 2012
Findlay, Ohio

Findlay has been one of the weaker sides in this year's competition, but Michigan was wary of travel and the home side's desperation.  Specific performance goals helped see the visitors to a well-earned shutout.

Despite being underdogs, Findlay started the game with great enthusiasm, banging away at a staunch Michigan defense.  The men in blue showed why they have the best defensive record in the league with a fiery goal-line stand which resulted in much needed turnover ball.  The first points wouldn't come until the 15th minute when fullback Jamie Hickey darts in from 20 meters.  Flyhalf Aaron Dodd would convert.

Not three phases into the restart, Hickey scored again.  14 points in just a couple minutes.  Momentum was building in the visitor's camp, and Ann Arbor rookie Alex Aizenman finished a beautifully constructed offensive series with 23 minutes gone.  No conversion.  Captain and scrumhalf Karl Seibert dislocated a shoulder early in the match, but with a 19-0 lead he is replaced.  Matt Kuriluk moves from center to scrumhalf; Mike Przybylek moves from flanker to center, and Doug Chapman comes on in the loose.

With five minutes left in the half and a full head of steam, Michigan gets great territory from wing Tom Stulberg.  Dodd gives a clever, goal-line cross kick which is gathered by Hickey in the in-goal.  Champagne rugby.  Dodd's conversion makes it 26-0.

Center Charlie Berklich, one of Michigan's outstanding backs this season, gets himself on the board with a brilliant individual effort in the dying moments of the first half.  Dodd converted, bringing the tally up to 33 at the half.

Berklich, given a breather by the break, nabs another try from another individual effort.  His 40 yard dash time will suffer as his evasive running gets him all over the paddock. 

A fairly egregious high tackle on Dodd results in some pushing and shoving and ends with a yellow card to Findlay's openside flanker.  Kuriluk, embracing the pesky scrumhalf role, was at the heart of the tussle.

The forwards exploit the man-advantage and march down the field swimmingly.  Aizenman picks up his second on debut and Dodd's conversion brings the score to 47-0 with 25 to go.

Hickey's over next off a clever set piece move.  The conversion gives Findlay 15 minutes left to score 54 points - to tie.

"The guys are really enjoying it out there now," the MRFC Twitter account said after the try.  And they were; they were getting clean, fast ball and weren't afraid to throw it around a little. 

The cockiness gives way to some Findlay possession.  They seemed to be threatening, but their players were being worked too hard, and another goal-line defensive stand from Michigan sees Findlay on their heels.

Pressure from the visitors eventually gained Przybylek an intercept which he scored from inside the Michigan half.

Aizenman gets a third try on 80 minutes; quite an impressive first match with the club.

68-0 at the whistle.

Special mention should go to three debutants who played extremely well; Craig Heiter, RJ Corvese, and Alex Aizenman.

15 Jamie Hickey
14 Tom Stulberg
13 Charlie Berklich
12 Matt Kuriluk
11 Alex Aizenman
10 Aaron Dodd
9 Karl Seibert
8 Jeff Burke
7 Mike Przybylek
6 Matt Daniel
5 Ty Waters
4 Andy Kilpatrick
3 Hany Shehata
2 Ted Pixley
1 Matt Forsyth

Naveen Aravapalli, Brian Zimmer, Doug Chapman, Andy Schwarzkopf, RJ Corvese, Craig Heiter

Tries: Hickey (4), Aizenman (3), Berklich (2), Pryzbylek
Conv: Dodd (9)
Pen: -
Drop: -