Cal’s rugby team seeks its 27th national title but its first in three years Saturday when it faces two-time defending champion BYU in the Varsity Cup National Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The Bears (18-2) and Cougars (17-1) will square off in the title match for the eighth time in 10 years. Cal has won five of the previous seven, but BYU is potent, having outscored opponents this postseason by a margin of 130-15.
“We are unquestionably the underdogs,” Cal coach Jack Clark said. “This status doesn’t deter us — we prefer the clarity.”
Cal advanced to the championship game with a 58-14 home win over Central Washington last week, while BYU crushed Navy 60-0.
In terms of common opponents, BYU managed a 37-22 home victory over Cal Poly while Cal went on the road and pounded the Mustangs 95-14.
That outcome won’t help the Bears on Saturday.
“Our path to victory is narrow,” Clark said. “Against BYU, our victory conditions require a high degree of precision. A degree of accuracy with which our opposition isn’t burdened. In fact, BYU is so lethal, they can turn over a significant percentage of their possessions and still blow teams out.”
The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 1 p.m.