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As the inaugural College Premier League season creeps closer, St. Mary’s keeps collecting scalps. Indiana, Air Force, Back Bay, LA Rugby Club and SFGG have all fallen to the Gaels in the past couple months. Indiana, Air Force and Back Bay did so handily. Saturday, the Gaels felled another victim, Stanford, to the tune of 77-7.Stanford entered Saturday’s contest after only a couple of weeks of practice under new head coach Matt Sherman and having played just a pair of warm up games in the fall, so rust was prevalent, as could expected, and St. Mary’s capitalized.Gaels head coach Tim O’Brien estimated at least half of his team’s 77 points came off Stanford mishandling errors that led to turnovers.For Stanford, the loss will serve as a harsh learning experience. “While it's never fun being on the wrong end of a lopsided score, this game is a good starting point where I think we saw a lot of positives to build on, and a lot of issues to address being illuminated. We have a lot of room for improvement, and we're committed to making those improvements, and I think a lot of our issues today are fixable in time,” said Sherman. “In our opponent I was thoroughly impressed. St. Mary's is a very strong team, I'd have to think they will be one of the most talented teams in the country this year, and they are good demonstration of what a consistent recruiting effort can achieve.” Because the Gaels have played a thorough preseason schedule, O’Brien elected to keep a handful of his top players off the pitch Saturday, including star-in-the-making Bubba Jones and captain Andrew Cook. Their absence provided opportunity for others. “Tim Maupin, who usually plays center, played wing, and I think he had at least four tries. He’s damn good,” said O’Brien. “In our forward pack, it’s hard to pick out a guy, but Rob Carlson did a good job for us. He’s an undersized flanker and he’s all over the field. He’s got a massive motor. Those are two very good players.”
If it were up to O’Brien, his entire team would forget about hanging 77 points on Stanford and the rest of their preseason achievements. He wants to stay under the radar and have everyone talk about Cal, BYU, Utah and the like when discussing possible CPL contenders. But Saturday’s win, like the rest of St. Mary’s preseason, is impossible to ignore, and it’s all pointing toward a CPL-opening March 5th meeting with UC Davis.