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In Moraga, Calif., a highly-anticipated matchup between top-ranked St. Mary’s College and tenth-ranked San Diego State turned into a blowout win for the Gaels, 57-5.
It took only two minutes for the home team to earn its first score with a try from prop Payton Telea. Fullback Dylan Audsley hit the first of his six conversions for the early 7-0 lead. Tries from No. 8 Viliami Helu, Audsley, and flanker Alec Barton built the lead to 24-0 before the Aztecs answered with Gilbert Covey IV score.
The 24-5 lead held until ten minutes into the second half when flyhalf Mike McCarthy extended the St. Mary’s lead, and from there it was all Gael rugby. Helu, wing Jack Carso, Telea, scrumhalf Holden Yungert, and Audsley finished up the scoring in the rout.
For St. Mary’s coach Tim O’Brien, it was a game that felt a bit closer than the final score indicated. “It was a good game, we’ll improve from it,” he explained. “Credit to San Diego State, they played some good defense. They’ve got some super athletes, some legit team speed.” O’Brien credited his #9 and #10, Yungert and McCarthy, for leading the team to victory by setting the pace on offense and playing some “stellar defense.”
While the boys made their breaks and tested St. Mary’s, the result and final score were not what San Diego State coach Alex Lichtig was looking for. “Overall, we weren’t pleased with the performance. It’s always a great opportunity to play a club like St. Mary’s; they’re a class organization. It exposes a list of areas we can work on to get better. We’ll have a long look at our film and get back to work preparing for Santa Clara.”
The Aztecs will host Santa Clara next Saturday while the Gaels will venture to Provo, Utah for their rematch against BYU.