Football falls behind 38-2 after three quarters, loses first Ivy game

Bears unable to recover from early deficit despite four-touchdown rally led by QB TJ Linta ’18

Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Senior co-captain and defensive end Richard “Dewey” Jarvis ’17.5 drags the Harvard ball-carrier back into the end zone for an early safety, granting the Bears the only two points the team would get until the fourth quarter.

It’s rare that the scoreboard at a football game displays less than three points. But as Brown battled against Harvard for the 117th time Saturday, it played under a brightly lit two — the only points the Bears (1-1, 0-1 Ivy) managed until the final quarter. A last-minute four-touchdown effort led by quarterback Thomas “TJ” Linta ’18 wasn’t enough for Bruno to overcome the Crimson (1-1, 1-0 Ivy) as Brown fell 45-28.

“We really had to execute on offense and we just weren’t getting it going in the first half,” Linta said. “In the third and fourth quarters, we started to pick it up on offense as a whole. We started to execute, and we put some points on the board.”

Harvard posted seven on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter, but co-captain Richard “Dewey” Jarvis ’17.5 helped the Bears respond by sneaking into the backfield for a safety. But the momentum didn’t stay on Bruno’s side for long, as starting quarterback Nicholas Duncan ’19 threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on the following offensive drive.

Turnovers and poor execution continued to plague Brown’s offense for the remainder of the first half and Harvard found the endzone for a third time to take a 21-2 lead going into the locker room.

“All the guys at halftime were like, ‘We’ve got to pick it up. We’re not playing how we are supposed to play,’” Linta said. “We scored two points in the first half, and that’s definitely not acceptable. …We’ve been here before. We’ve been in these situations. Every drive is like it’s 0-0 and every drive you’ve got to go out there with the will to score.”

The Crimson scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter, prompting the Brown coaching staff to substitute out Duncan for Linta. Though this was the first time Linta saw action in the pocket this season, the senior racked up 253 passing yards on 20 completions and three touchdowns. Bruno’s first TD came on a 15-yard strike to Demitri Jackson ’20 after a forced fumble by Kenari Drayton ’19. Harvard responded with a touchdown of its own, bringing the score to 45-9 with six minutes remaining.

But Linta had an answer, connecting with Jaelon Blandburg ’20 for his second passing score of the night. Bruno’s next offensive series ended in Linta keeping the ball for a four-yard scamper into the endzone. A successful onside kick set up the Bears for their final score as Linta hit Scott Boylan ’21 for the rookie’s first receiving TD with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

With the score 45-28, another onside kick gave Brown its final opportunity to chip away at Harvard’s lead. But incomplete passes spelled the end of Bruno’s offensive resurgence.

Despite losing their first conference game of the season, the Bears still have their eyes on an Ivy crown.

“We have the mindset of going and winning every game,” Linta said. “If we win every game, we should be able to still win the title. … Today, we had a tough game, but we’ve just got to put it behind us. What happened happened, and we’re on to next week.”

Next week brings in-state rival University of Rhode Island to Brown Stadium for the 102nd Governor’s Cup. After giving away the Cup to the Rams (1-3) last season, the Bears look to reclaim the trophy, but the victory won’t come easily as Rhody’s sole win came against Harvard last week. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 7 p.m.