BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby has named the Barnburner for round three of the College Premier Division (CPD). This week the Barnburner is a Keystone State clash between the two preeminent collegiate rugby programs in Pennsylvania and longtime rivals, Kutztown University and Penn State. The Barnburner kicks off at 1:00 p.m. EST at the Kutztown Rugby Pitch in Kutztown, Pa.
Both teams are looking to make a statement in the newly formed CPD and what better way to do that than whooping-up on a rival? They split the fall series 1-1, so Saturday’s match will also be a tiebreaker for the Kutztown-Penn State series.
According to RugbyMAG.com’s rankings this week, Penn State is #10 in the country and Kutztown is #18. But like all good college rivalries, rankings mean little when you take the field.
Last year Penn State made it to the Round of Eight in the Division I Collegiate Men’s playoffs, falling to Cal in the semifinals. Kutztown hasn’t been in the playoff picture since 2008 when they had one Marco Barnard (now a regular on Team USA) leading them on the field. But this is a new year, a new competition, and a new opportunity to reach the postseason.
A win for either team would put them at the top of the Rugby East table, mixing it up with top ten teams Army and Dartmouth. Coincidentally, in the next round of CPD play Kutztown faces Army and Penn State squares off with Dartmouth, putting their season hopes hanging in the balance early.
“Rugby East probably has the most parity of any conference in the CPD,” said Penn State Head Coach, Don Ferrell.
“It was nice having time to prepare for our first game, but the guys are just excited to get started. There are a lot of nerves and a lot of excitement.”
Ferrell knows this rivalry well, being involved in Penn State rugby for 14 years and playing Kutztown regularly.
“Kutztown is a big rivalry for us, but it’s also a great friendship we have with the players and the coaches,” said Ferrell.