Murfeesboro, TN (AmericanRugbyNews.com) - Arkansas State will be the top seed from the South in the Round of 16 for the second straight year after a 35-14 victory over Tennessee in Sunday's conference final.
It was 21-0 to the Red Wolves at halftime and although UT made a spirited comeback in the second frame, ASU held on for an emphatic win.
The game was played in sloppy conditions in Murfreesboro, TN, yet despite that both teams turned in some wide open attacking rugby.
Arkansas State pinned UT in its own end through the first quarter of the game and used that territorial advantage to post three tries.
"I tell you what, Tennessee has a good program," Arkansas State head coach Matt Huckaby. "It's nice to win, we love playing Tennessee and I'm pretty thrilled."
The Volunteers struck early in the second half to make a game of it, but having closed the gap to 21-14 with two unanswered tries, UT couldn't find a way to keep the momentum going.
The flipside was that after being scored on twice and in quick time, ASU was stung into action and lifted things a notch to score two final tries themselves and clinch the seed they'd set their sights on prior to the weekend.
ASU try-scorers included Dean Gericke, Roland Evans, David Caswell, Caleb Gregg and Clint Whitler.
"Not disappointed at all," said Tennessee head coach Butch Robertson. "We're excited, we're in the Round of 16 again."
Volunteer try-scorers were Nick Evans and Mason Howard.
Arkansas State will make the trip to the West Coast to compete in the Santa Barbara bracket of the national playoffs, while Tennessee will go to Atlanta as South #2.
The USA Rugby National Championship Tournament will be played April 16th-18th.