St. Mary’s scored the first 17 points of the game and the final 42 en route to a 59-10 win over Penn State Friday in Moraga, Calif. The Gaels led 17-0 early, let the Nittany Lions get back-to-back scores and then never looked back.
Penn State had an edge over St. Mary’s in the tackle area in the first half, which forced penalties and allowed the visitors to work back in the game.
“We had a lot [of penalties] for not releasing the ball. Penn State beat us to the breakdown a number of occasions,” said Saint Mary’s coach Tim O’Brien.
“We played a lock at No. 8 and we played Nick Wallace, who plays prop, at flanker and we just did some experimentation, so we really didn’t have an openside flanker. We gave up a bunch of speed, and that’s what you get.
“We got isolated on the ball, some that was our ball and some that we stole from them, and they did a great job of contesting the breakdown. Their breakdowns were pretty ferocious. A lot of contact.”
But when St. Mary’s started to use the width of the pitch on offense, they left the Nittany Lions in the dust. Fullback Tim Maupin ran in four tries from fullback, and most of his scores were set up by midfield breaks by inside center Augie Heath or outside center Mike Haley. Maupin’s first try came at the end of the first half, putting the Gaels up 24-10 going into intermission.
“Augie was the backup No. 10 last year when his brother, Max, was hurt, and Max was hurt a lot at 10. Augie started to master the 10. He played 10 when we played Cal [and beat them], and he’s become very useful to us at 12. He really reads the game well,” said O’Brien.
“Garrett Brewer, who is playing No. 10 for us, has only played fullback and wing in all of his rugby. We’re using them both to sort of tutor one another as we go through the steps. Augie’s experience at 10 has helped him a lot at 12, and it’s helping Garrett figure it out at 10, because Garrett has a long way to go. A lot of upside, but a long way to go.”
The Gaels don’t get much rest after the win, as they turn around and take on Santa Clara Saturday in a California Conference match. Penn State will try and improve Monday against Cal.
Tries: Maupin (4), Brewer, Haley, Harris, Herring
Cons: Brewer (4)