The St. Joseph's men's rugby team and the Super Bowl-winning Eagles have something in common. At some point during each of their seasons, they've been counted out.
The Hawks have an uphill battle in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships on Friday through Sunday at at Talen Energy Stadium.
The tournament's website details St. Joe's rugby history and roster, and in the final section the last sentence reads, Look for the Hawks to be a tough out in pool play, but don't expect to see them in the top eight on Sunday.
St. Joe's head coach Dan Yarusso, who was unaware of what was written, is embracing the underdog role, and even referenced a hometown icon.
"We're Philly. We get no love. Where's my boy Jason Kelce?" Yarusso said, referring to the Eagles center who gave a fiery speech at the end of the Eagles' parade.
"It's still business as usual. But, look, it's chalkboard material for us. We pride ourselves in being that underdog. People are constantly writing us off. We just [go out and] prove them wrong."
The Hawks won the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference title in April after sweeping Rowan, West Virginia, and West Chester. They also won the Jesuit Cup in Santa Clara, Calif., winning four matches, including one against Notre Dame.
The Hawks won each tournament with a heavy heart, as Mark Dombroski, a freshman on the team, died in Bermuda during a trip with the squad in March.
"That's been pretty tough on the team and the community, but the guys have really pulled together and are playing for his legacy," Yarusso said. "Mark was just a fine young man. We really want to do well for him."
St. Joe's begins Pool A play on Saturday against Wisconsin, a team the Hawks lost to in last year's semifinal round. Lindenwood and Mount St. Mary's are also in the pool. Lindenwood outscored its opponents, 232-12, in five matches to win USA Rugby College 7's national championship two weeks ago.
The Hawks will lean on Sean McDermott and Noah Niumataiwalu, who lead the team with 139 and 129 points, respectively.
In the men's Pool C, beginning Saturday, Temple plays Iona, Dartmouth, and Kutztown.