Sports

Breaking down Bruno: Football team knocks off Rams

Bruno defeats URI in the rain with a brick-wall defense and QB-turned-bulldozer Rosenbauer ’16

By
Sports Editor
Monday, October 6, 2014

It’s hard for a football team to improve by leaps and bounds overnight. After the Bears struggled against Georgetown University in the season opener, they could not turn things around fast enough to beat Harvard at home the next week. But Bruno (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) finally made the steps necessary to get a win Saturday, knocking off rivals from the University of Rhode Island (0-5) to win the 99th Governor’s Cup. Here’s a breakdown of the Bears’ effort in week three.

 

What’s strong

Three rushing yards. That’s how many the Rams could manage for the whole game, thanks to a Brown defense that bordered on absolutely resolute. The highly touted interior linebackers Dan Giovacchini ’15 and Xavier Russo ’15 lived up to their reputations as the unit’s leaders — each registering four solo tackles and contributing to tackles for loss.

Ten different Bears spent time in the Rhody backfield and registered tackles for loss. For context, there are only 11 defensive players on the field.

Chad Berry ’16 is expected to have a breakout season as an impact pass-rusher, and Bruno fans got a glimpse of his influence Saturday when he was a part of two sacks and recovered a fumble.

Perhaps the best part of the defense’s performance was that the unit was strongest when it mattered. Coming out of halftime tied at seven, the Bears held the Rams to 14 total yards on their first six drives of the second half — or 2.3 yards per drive. In the meantime, the offense built the lead that decided the game.

 

What’s wrong

The wet weather conditions were obviously a factor, but the Bruno receiving corps had trouble handling the passes from quarterback Marcus Fuller ’15. Alex Jette ’17 dropped a couple of very catchable balls, and Stian Romberg ’15 let one go through his hands that would have gone for a big first down.

Last season, seniors accounted for 80 percent of the total yardage through the air, so the young group of wide receivers on the 2014 team had very little experience. Head Coach Phil Estes P’18 lauded the unit’s work in the spring, but the wide receivers still have a lot to do for Brown to be an aerial threat this season.

What’s new

Its not every day that your second-leading rusher, who averaged over five yards per carry, is your backup quarterback. Then again, it’s not every day that your backup quarterback is built like the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Seth Rosenbauer ’16.

The Bears brought in Rosenbauer on rare occasion to run quarterback draws in the season’s first two games, but they showed a new level of commitment to that strategy at URI. Rosenbauer’s quarterback scampers were so successful that Estes started calling for handoffs to him like a running back.

Short yardage situations offer Rosenbauer a particularly crucial opportunity to showcase his ability to carry both the football and defenders. Three times the Bears turned to the backup QB on third and short, and all three times the big junior came through.

Rosenbauer could be a critical and even decisive weapon for the Bears as the season continues, because the ability to convert in third-and-short or goal-line situations is imperative come Ivy play.

 

Turning point?

Fortunately for the Bears, the game lacked a major turning point. In fact, from the 12:36 point in the fourth quarter to the 3:28 mark — a time when URI trailed by only four and one would expect the comeback’s climax — the Rams’ offense had to watch from the sideline. Fuller orchestrated a 70-yard march that ate an impressive nine minutes off the clock.

The drive was powered by the legs of Rosenbauer and a number of short completions by Fuller, and it ensured that Rhody’s attempts at a comeback would be too little too late.

 

Unsung hero

Bruno’s secondary is missing a key piece with the injury of number one cornerback Patrick O’Neill ’15, but the effect of his absence was lightened by an impressive game from his classmate Jacob Supron ’15.

The senior cornerback’s name was constantly being called, and he ended the game with the second-most tackles on the team.

Beyond that, it was a Supron interception that set up the Bears’ offense for its first of only two touchdowns. Reading his man’s route and the quarterback’s eyes like a book, Supron jumped in front of a pass along the sideline in the first quarter and returned it into URI territory.

O’Neill’s return will be welcomed by a secondary that allowed 229 yards through the air, but the play of his pal Supron keeps the unit effective.

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  • WesternBear

    Excellent analysis by Mr. Miller.

    I wish to comment on one
    point he made. First, I want to say the I have great respect for Coach
    Estes and for what he has done for the Brown Football Program. That
    said, I feel that he could do even better if he rotated in some of his
    younger players to give them real game experience. In the last few
    years the situation has improved, most particularly on defense and
    somewhat on the offensive line. However, in the backfield there has
    been very little rotation. (I was glad to see Rosenbauer’s
    running ability so successfully added to the offensive mix last week, I
    hope to see it expanded in the coming weeks.) But, how about the
    Freshman running-back, Jake Hall. I heard two interviews in which Estes
    praised him very highly. Give him a few carries to let him get some
    game experience.Also, last year it was all Donnelly at QB. Fuller
    had the most minimal game experience. No wonder we are unprepared for
    Harvard each year. This year Kyle Moreno got in the Georgetown game
    perhaps in frustration as to how things were going with Fuller. Will we
    ever see him again?