Bears lose 34-7 to Cornell in third consecutive defeat

Despite fourth quarter touchdown, early deficit proves insurmountable for stalling Bruno offense

senior staff writer
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Seven points, six first downs and 161 total yards of offense were all the football team managed in the Bears’ (2-3, 0-3 Ivy) 34-7 loss to fourth-ranked Cornell Saturday. A fourth-quarter touchdown by tight end Anton Casey ’19 prevented the shutout, but it wasn’t enough as Brown fell to the Big Red (2-4, 2-1) for the first time since 2007.

“It was poor execution, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Casey said. “We got a little bit frantic early on, and that caused us to kind of fall apart and not execute throughout the game.”

For the second straight week, Bruno’s defense allowed more than 500 yards as Cornell made four trips to the end zone. The Big Red jumped to an early lead with a field goal on its first offensive drive and remained in control for the entire game, maintaining possession for 40 minutes and holding Brown to 18 total rushing yards.

But the Bears were able to make offensive progress through the air, amassing 143 passing yards on 11 completions. Jeffrey “Mitchell” Jonke ’21 started at quarterback but was injured late in the first quarter, resulting in the reappearance of Nicholas Duncan ’19. Duncan had not recorded playing time since Brown’s week-one victory over Bryant University due to an injury, but generated an offensive spark late in the game that led to Bruno’s sole TD.

With 11 minutes left in the final quarter, Duncan and Casey pieced together an 80-yard, six-play scoring drive. Duncan found the tight end for a pair of 24-yard completions to storm into Cornell territory. A 23-yard reception by Demitri Jackson ’20 put Bruno in the red zone for the first time, and Duncan’s shovel pass to Casey gave Brown its first TD in seven quarters.

Despite Casey’s clutch receptions and first career touchdown, the Bears could not overcome the Big Red’s lead, settling the final score at 34-7.

“There’s a lot of question marks on offense in terms of who’s starting every week,” Casey said. “We’re just trying to find a groove right now. … We’re trying to get our confidence back and look to turn things around.”

Brown is winless in the Ivy League but looks to change that Saturday against Penn. The Bears will return to Brown Stadium to face off against the Quakers (2-4, 0-3) for their final home game of the season before traveling to Yale Nov. 3 and meeting Dartmouth at Fenway Park for a neutral-site game Nov. 10.