This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Number eight could be great.
Having met seven previous times with a national championship trophy on the line, BYU and Cal will again pen another chapter into their ongoing and historic rivalry Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy as the two rugby programs face off for the Varsity Cup national title.
The Cougars and Golden Bears will kick things off at 2 p.m.
Powerhouse programs for decades, BYU and Cal have met 11 times, 10 of which came in postseason showdowns. While the Cougars topped the Golden Bears in a dramatic title game a year ago, Cal has won five of the seven national championship outings against BYU.
BYU's 27-24 win a year ago, punctuated by Johnny Linehan's drop goal at the very end of the match, gave the Cougars their first Varsity Cup title in program history. The final was named the 2013 Rugbymag Collegiate Game of the Year due to the sheer dramatics. BYU's 16-3 early lead a year ago was quelled when Cal responded to knot the match 24-24 on a score by Cal's Seamus Kelly.
However, Linehan's drop goal ended last year's Varsity Cup, leaving the Cougars to hoist the trophy.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Kelly said on the Varsity Cup website. "I think [BYU is] the best team in the country right now, a real lethal group of athletes. You want to go through the toughest opponent possible to be crowned champion."
BYU vs. Cal
Saturday, 2 p.m.
At Rio Tinto Stadium
TV: NBC Sports Network