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The spring college rugby season began in earnest on the weekend, with two highly-anticipated clashes winding up resounding blowouts. Top-ranked BYU beat Arizona State, 72-8, Saturday in St. George, Utah, and No. 4 St. Mary’s walloped 16th-ranked Utah, 81-15, in Moraga, Calif.

The Cougars led just 24-3 at halftime, but exploded in the second stanza. Open substitutions were used in the friendly. Center Seki Kofi, No. 8 Ben Keith and wing Jordan Lowry scored two tries apiece.

The early goings were competitive in Moraga, as well, with the Utes trailing 21-15 beyond the midway point of the first half. The Gaels put up 10 more points before intermission, and another 50 in the second half. Kingsley McGowan notched four tries on the day for St. Mary’s. 

St. Mary’s and BYU are both trying to defend national titles this year – the Gaels USA Rugby’s DI-A and the Cougars the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. BYU is returning most of its star-studded cast, while St. Mary’s is replacing some serious firepower, though it’s hard to tell from such an impressive early score line.

Arizona State will swap places with Utah this weekend and take on St. Mary’s, while BYU hosts Utah in St. George Jan. 24. The rivalry’s traveling trophy, the Wasatch Cup, will be played for March 21. The Gaels and Cougars do battle Feb. 28 and March 14. Last year they split the series.