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This One's Big

College Men

This One's Big

Wet, cold and (almost) all Saint Mary's was last month's first meeting. Michael Geib photo.

It’s clash of the Titans II - the Titaning (or something) as Saint Mary’s visits BYU for a rematch.

The Gaels defeated BYU 27-12 on February 18 in Moraga, Calif., and since then Saint Mary’s has continued to cut a swath through the opposition.

BYU has been swathing a little bit, too, The Cougars have dominated over the likes of Colorado and Air Force. They get their national team players - Matt Jensen and Calvin Whiting - back for the Gaels, and will want to put in a better performance in the forward pack, for sure.

BYU looked a little tired, especially in the final 20 minutes, against Saint Mary’s, and certainly the Gaels will want to push the pace. 

But at their best the Cougars can push the pace a little bit, too, and a year ago in Provo slammed the Gaels 62-15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc_dzLrj0Vo

Saint Mary’s seems to have as good a lock-to-No. 8 group as they ever have, and flanker and captain Kevin O’Connor said it’s as much about attitude as anything else.

“We set standards and goals before the game,” said O’Connor. “One of the biggest things is we hold ourselves to those goals and we want to have the highest standards of rugby that we can play. Against San Diego State it was kind of a weird feeling because we won and we played well but there were weren’t really satisfied.”

Penalties and lineouts have been vulnerable for Saint Mary’s, and O’Connor said those are still issues they watch. But also dominating set piece in general is something they want to do.

On the plus side, the Saint Mary’s depth is very good.

“We have guys who come on and we don’t miss a beat, and we need to develop those guys to be the next ones up,” said O’Connor. “We wanted to give those guys an opportunity, and a lot of them excelled, and others know what they need to do to get better.”

O’Connor said players say to each other, “trust the process. When everybody buys in it makes that experience that much more memorable and success starts to go through the roof.”

BYU, it would be fair to say, was still working on the process in February, but they are a much different team in March. This promises to be a massive game for both, perhaps even titanic.