The Saint Mary’s Rugby team suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, falling 35-21 to BYU.
In a sloppy match in which neither team played their best, the Gaels simply could not get enough sustained offense going to make up for the huge deficit they placed themselves in. They continued to fight however, and were it not for a costly yellow card in the second half, may have been able to pull it out.
BYU clearly came out determined in the first half, attacking Saint Mary’s in the open field and playing stout team defense. Nevertheless, the Gaels refused to give in.
After falling behind 20-3 with 10 minutes left in the first half, they final gained some momentum. A long drive into BYU territory almost ended in disaster when an errant pass bounced off the hands of Kingsley McGowan, but Cooper Maloney was able to corral it and ship it out to Nick Schlobohm who took it in for the try. After Dylan Audsley made the conversion, the score stood at 20-10 and would stay that way until the half.
A penalty kick by Audsley cut the deficit to 7 just 2 minutes into the second half and the Gaels looked poised to make a run. It looked as if they had gotten just the play they needed when, with 30 minutes left to go, McGowan intercepted a pass and broke away for what appeared to be a game tying try. However, a penalty right before the pass negated the big play and really seemed to make a huge difference in the game.
The next key play came just seven minutes later and severely changed the game. After a great run by a BYU player deep into SMC territory, the pass was knocked forward but ruled to have been kicked, allowing play to continue. Then off of the ruck, Joey Reavey was called for the intentional knock-on and given the yellow card. The referee also awarded BYU the penalty try and after the conversion the score stood at 27-13.
Forced to play a man down for 10 crucial minutes, Saint Mary’s fought valiantly and actually gained ground cutting the lead to 11 at 27-18 on a try by Michael McCarthy. This would be as close as the Gaels would get however, later adding a penalty kick by Audsley but never again making it a one score game.