Sports

Bruno looks to tackle Tigers under the lights

The game pits the league’s top defenses against each other in the first of a series of Ivy matchups

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, October 18, 2013

Kicker Alexander Norocea ’14 could play a pivotal role as the Bears host Ivy rival Princeton to kick off a streak of conference games.

After establishing dominance in Rhode Island with wins over the University of Rhode Island and Bryant University, the football team will return to action Saturday against Princeton in its first of six consecutive Ivy League matchups.

The game will be played at Brown Stadium at 6 p.m. and broadcast on Fox College Sports.

“We have to focus on keeping up our mentality and energy as a team,” said co-captain and quarterback Patrick Donnelly ’13.5. “These six Ivy games to end the season will determine how it’s going to end up.”

The matchup will pit the Ivy League’s top two defenses against each other. Bruno (3-1, 0-1 Ivy) has allowed 322.5 yards per game, and Princeton (3-1, 1-0) has yielded 348.2. While these statistics might foreshadow a low-scoring game, the Tigers’ defense will face perhaps its toughest test so far this season against Bruno’s passing attack.

“Just as much as we have to contend with their defense, they have to contend with our offense,” said Head Coach Phil Estes.

Against Bryant (3-3, 1-0), Donnelly led the Bears’ offensive efforts with 339 passing yards and four touchdowns. Tellef Lundevall ’13.5 and Jordan Evans ’14 each tallied more than 100 yards through the air.

Placekicker Alex Norocea ’14  converted two field goals and a five extra points in the blowout and was named Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance. Norocea has been perfect on both field goal and extra point attempts this year, and he leads the Ancient Eight in kick-scoring with eight points per game.

“He’s what we thought he’d be,” Estes said. “Each year he’s gotten better and better. It’s gotten to the point where we take it for granted that he’s going to go out there and hit the field goal.”

Estes said Alex Jette ’17 will be back on the punt return this week after recovering from an undisclosed injury. In the season opener against Georgetown University, Jette racked up 82 yards on four punt returns.

On the opposite sideline, Princeton’s offense has centered on a three-headed rushing attack featuring Di Andre Atwater, Brian Mills and Quinn Epperly. All three have averaged more than 40 yards per game, giving Princeton the league’s most potent run offense in terms of rushing yards per game.

In the Oct. 5 53-7 drubbing of Columbia (0-3, 0-1), Princeton’s Connor Kelley led the team with 35 receiving yards, while Atwater added 40 yards rushing. In addition to facing a formidable conference opponent, Princeton will aim to end a run of nine consecutive years without a victory at Brown Stadium.

Last year, the Bears lost 19-0 to Princeton, kicking off a difficult late October that included a narrow defeat to Penn. Donnelly hopes to avoid making the same mistakes this year.

“It was a stretch we didn’t do too well with last year,” Donnelly said. “It took us until the last few games to really get back on track.”

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