The Spartans came into the Great Southern Bowl undefeated, the Razorbacks limped into the game at 5 and 5, with many believing the prelim was won due to the Chiefs loss of Caputo in the first half. But bowl games are different, and experience counts. The Hogs playing their 5th straight and the Spartans their first in over a decade.
The Spartans made a mistake early, giving the Hogs a red zone position early in the first. Builder playing only his 5th game was off the mark and threw an interception inside the 10, bailing out the Spartans.
The remainder of the half was back and forth with multiple penalties, with neither offence being able to move the ball with any efficiency.
The Hogs lack of offense was somewhat expected, but the Spartans inability to throw the ball greatly assisted Adelaide University, as they essentially sold out to defend the run and dared the Spartans to pass.
The Spartans have been the premier running team all season, destroying opponents with a punishing rushing attack, but today their one-dimensional attack was their undoing. The hogs dared them to throw and they were unable to answer the challenge.
The Spartans scored early after the major break, Ottens breaking through for the TD but momentum never seemed to swing their way, their inability to capitalise on errors and leave the Hogs hanging around was pivotal, the Hogs experience meant they were never rattled.
As the 4th arrived, Builder had the wind at his back and started to string together completions, eventually capitalising after a missed call by the refs allowed a rushing TD and the game was tied at 7.
The Spartans continued to run at the Hogs D, never taking to the air. The Hogs had a chance to win the game in regular time, but the Spartans D held strong, again intercepting Builder with under two minutes to play.
The Spartans won the toss and elected to defend.
The Hogs took advantage! Starting from the 25 the hogs quickly found themselves facing 4th and 6, Builder threw over the middle, converting by the smallest of margins. Shortly thereafter the Spartans jumped offside, giving Builder a free play, he wasted little time connecting with Olsson for the TD.
The Spartans now feeling the pressure of having to match the Hogs TD in order to force a second period of overtime. Unable to take advantage of the Hogs defensive structure with the pass, the Spartans ran into the teeth of a defence hell bent on stopping the run. Facing 4th and 1, the Hogs stopped the Spartans controversially winning their 5th straight Great Southern Bowl.
Razorbacks: Builder 1 rushing and 1 passing, Olsson 1 receiving.
Spartans: Ottens 1 rushing.
SPARTANS 7 – 14 HOGS