Sports

Bears tame Tigers with second-half offensive surge

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 19, 2009

Most wide receivers would be happy after having four catches and 30 yards in an upset of a nationally ranked team. But Buddy Farnham ’10 isn’t like most receivers.

After Farnham’s 30-yard day against Holy Cross last week, Brown Head Coach Phil Estes said he could tell Farnham wished he had played a bigger role in the offense.

“Everybody has a day like that, when the ball goes the other way,” Estes recalled telling Farnham after the Holy Cross game. “I said, ‘But you know how important you are and the big plays that you can make.'”

Now, Princeton knows too. A week after his relatively quiet performance against Holy Cross, Farnham was everywhere on the field against the Tigers, amassing 309 all-purpose yards. He finished with 10 catches for 199 yards and one receiving touchdown. He also returned a kickoff 92 yards for a second touchdown in the Bears’ (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) 34-17 win over the Tigers (1-4, 0-2 Ivy) on Saturday.

“Unbelievable,” Estes said. “Buddy came up big.”

On Brown’s first play from scrimmage, Farnham caught a 35-yard pass to put the Bears in field-goal range. His catch killed the momentum the Tigers had gained with their 67-yard drive to the end zone on their first possession.

From the time the Bears first got the ball, Farnham stole the show. By the end of the first half, the 8,017 fans in attendance at Brown Stadium had seen him get seven catches for 184 yards.

“He’s just a good football player,” said Princeton Head Coach Roger Hughes. “If he weren’t on someone else’s team, he’d be fun to watch.”

In the first half, Farnham had more receiving yards than Princeton’s total yardage. But despite Farnham’s efforts, the Bears went into halftime ahead only 20-17.

With a balance of outside rushes and short passes, the Tigers managed 179 yards of total offense in the first half.

Princeton quarterback Tommy Wornham was 17-of-22 passing for 135 yards, one touchdown and one interception before halftime.

The Tigers got help in the battle for field position from punter Joe Cloud, who put the Bears inside of their own 5-yard line on both of his first-half punts, which averaged 54.5 yards.

But each time Princeton gave Brown a long field, Bears’ running back Zach Tronti ’11 managed to get Brown away from its end zone with runs up the middle.

“The trouble was we had them pinned back inside the five, I think, three or four times, and just didn’t stop them down there,” Hughes said. “That’s just something we have to do.”

Defensively, the Tigers let off of their frequent blitzes, which had defined them this season. Instead, they stayed back in coverage for much of the day.

“We were just trying to mix it up,” Hughes said. “You have to mix it up with a good quarterback. Otherwise, he’ll pick you apart.”

Brown quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero ’11 was 13-of-20 passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. After the Bears went ahead in the second half, Newhall-Caballero handed off more than he dropped back. He finished 23-of-36 passing with 309 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The Tigers went into halftime on a high note after a questionable call that negated a Brown touchdown and led to a Princeton field goal.

Princeton dropped back to pass with eight seconds left and the ball at the Brown 33-yard line. But seeing no one open, Wornham took off on the ground, rushing to the 20-yard line before being hit by cornerback A.J. Cruz ’13. Cruz stripped the ball and ran it back for a touchdown.

But the officials called a personal foul on Cruz for a helmet-to-helmet tackle, giving the ball back to Princeton at the 10-yard line with :00 on the clock and the chance for one more play. The Tigers kicked a 27-yard field goal and made it, making the score 20-17 Brown.
“My job is to go in there and make sure that that isn’t a momentum swing for Princeton,” Estes said.

Estes couldn’t have done his job any better.

On the opening kickoff after halftime, Bobby Sewall ’10 received the ball at the 8-yard line. He took a few steps right and reversed the ball to Farnham. After taking the handoff, Farnham danced and dodged his way through Princeton defenders until breaking free at midfield. His 92-yard touchdown return gave the Bears a 27-17 advantage.

The Princeton offense couldn’t get anything going in the second half.

On Princeton’s final possession of the third quarter, defensive end Jimmy Develin ’10, a co-captain, had a sack on first down. Defensive tackle David Howard ‘09.5 followed up with two tackles in the backfield on second and third down, forcing the Tigers to punt.

After Newhall-Caballero threw an interception early in the third quarter, the Bears mostly kept it on the ground for the rest of the game. Tronti had 19 carries in the second half and finished with 29 carries for 134 yards.

Estes credited the offensive line for opening up holes for Tronti, especially on the Bears’ final drive, a 19-play, 74-yard campaign to the end zone that chewed up 11:08 of the fourth quarter, leaving just 1:32 left in the game with a secure 34-17 lead.

With the lyrics “celebrate good times, c’mon” blasting out of a stereo in the locker room after the game, the Bears celebrated their first Ivy League win of the season.