Like Pools B and C, E came down to the last match of the day, with two 2-0 teams facing off for the right to move onto the Cup Quarterfinals, the consolation prize being a shot at advancing, pending the first day's point differentials.This one pitted Texas A&M against St. Mary's.
The Gaels were in the black on point differential by just nine points heading into the game, while Texas A&M had racked up a bunch of points. So, had St. Mary's lost, they would have likely not had a favorable enough score advantage to advance. They had to win outright, and they did, 17-5.
The Gaels also had to do it without starter Bubba Jones, who hurt himself in the win over Bowling Green.
The host Aggies got on the board first, with Andres Diaz finishing off a Connor Mills break for an unconverted try. St. Mary's scored back-to-back tries by Cooper Maloney and Garrett Brewer to take a 10-5 lead going into halftime.
The second stanza was almost entirely defense, as neither team mustered a scoring mount until St. Mary's Michael Haley dotted down in extra time to end the match.
The Aggies, who had been solid most of the day, made some poor mistakes against St. Mary's.
"We stopped attacking the line, kind of got the ball flat footed on the outside, which we haven’t done all year," said A&M's Brian Guillen. "I don’t know if it was nerves. Just taking the ball into contact too much, not attacking the line before passing, catching it flat footed, giving them way too much time to blitz.
A&M can't afford to make the same mistakes tomorrow morning when they meet with defending National Champion Life.
"We play them every year so we kind of know some of the players," said Guillen of Life. "Fast and move the ball a lot, so we’ve just got to work hard on defense and eliminate some of those mistakes."
St. Mary's matches up against Navy in their quarterfinal.