(Sandy, UT) Relentless defense led to no shortage of scoring opportunities, as Davenport routed San Diego State 39-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium to take home their second consecutive D1-AA national championship.
Davenport scored fast and early - in the 3rd minute, flanker Ryan Hargraves bulled his way past the try line for an unconverted score in the corner. The Panthers stayed on offense and controlled the passage of play to set up Hargraves for his second try and a 12-0 lead, following a conversion from flyhalf JP Eloff. The consensus All-American took advantage of the Aztecs' vulnerability to the kick-chase, booting the ball far downfield to set up wing Mason Baum for DU's third try in twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, San Diego State took ball in hand, but couldn't find the width needed to string together a meaningful attack. Back on the other side of the ball, the Panthers overpowered an Aztec scrum deep in SDSU's half, with scrumhalf Joe Marino just crossing the try line for a 24th minute score. Again, Eloff converted, and Davenport held back the opposition to enter halftime with a 24-0 lead.
The penalty-laden second half unfolded slowly at first. A yellow card to lock Demecus Beach, for failing to retreat ten meters, left Davenport a man down for ten minutes - even shorthanded, the Panthers' muscular defense kept SDSU from landing their first try of the match. DU's offensive engine revved back to life with a scrum at the Aztecs' five-meter, leading to a try for center Adam Ries.
SDSU was outmatched at the breakdown and in the open field. San Diego State had several deep runs into the opposing half, but Davenport managed to isolate those runners and keep the Aztecs from converting those opportunities into points. DU Center Travis Kamstra set up wing Lance Cavanaugh for an easy try in the 65th minute, bringing the score to 34-0. Kamstra had the final score in the 79th minute, capping a 39-0 shutout as Davenport claimed back-to-back national championships.
JP Eloff, the leading scorer in D1-AA with 106 points in the regular season, was named Tournament MVP for the second year in a row. Davenport's victory marked an 11-0 record against collegiate teams this year, as the Panthers' only losses came from a pair of exhibition matches against the Chicago Lions and Griffins.
Tries: Ryan Hargraves (2), Mason Baum, Joe Marino, Adam Ries, Lance Cavanaugh, Travis Kamstra
Conversions: JP Eloff (2)
San Diego State
Referee: Paul Bretz (USA Rugby)