Football keeps Ivy hopes alive

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coming off a 13-3 loss to Yale, the football team (6-3, 5-1 Ivy) responded with an emphatic 45-16 win over Dartmouth on Saturday. Quarterback and co-captain Michael Dougherty ’09 completed 16 of 22 passes for 238 yards and threw two touchdowns while rushing for another.

Brown controlled the game from the opening drive, when Dougherty completed his first five passes, and the Bears established the running game with running back Dereck Knight ‘08.5 and receiver Bobby Sewall ’10 combining for 16 yards on three carries. Bruno got on the board when, on second-and-5 from the Dartmouth 21-yard line, Brown ran a play-action pass, and Dougherty found Sewall over the top on a post route for a touchdown.

“That set the tone for the rest of the game,” Dougherty said. “Every time we’ve scored on our opening drive, we’ve been very successful offensively.”

Sewall continued his outstanding season on Saturday with one receiving touchdown and two rushing touchdowns. He now leads the Ivy League with 12 overall touchdowns on the season, and has also racked up a league-leading 63 receptions and 879 receiving yards.

The momentum continued to go Brown’s way when, on Dartmouth’s first play from scrimmage, outside linebacker Miles Craigwell ’09 tipped a pass to cornerback Nkosi Still ’09, who intercepted it at the Dartmouth 43.

The Big Green looked like it might have a chance to stop the Brown offense at 3rd-and-5 on the 27, but Dougherty found receiver Buddy Farnham ’10 for a 17-yard completion. After Knight gained nine yards to move the ball to the 1, Sewall ran it in for a touchdown on second down to increase the lead to 14-0.

On Brown’s next drive, Dougherty completed a 56-yard pass to Sewall to set up a 35-yard field goal for kicker Robert Ranney ‘08.5, giving Bruno a 17-0 lead with 2:21 left in the first quarter.

The Big Green cut the lead to 17-7 with a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but Dougherty and the Bears answered right back when receiver Trevan Samp ’10 caught a 25-yard touchdown pass, Samp’s second touchdown of the season.

Dartmouth started its next drive with a 19-yard completion, but two plays later, defensive end Joe Yanchunis ’09 came up with an interception behind the line of scrimmage and ran it back 31 yards for his first touchdown of the season, increasing the lead to 31-7.

“Our defensive line over-powered their offensive line, thus putting great pressure on their QB, so the ball was coming out pretty fast,” Still wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Though the offense did not put up any more points before halftime, the Bears got things started again on their first drive of the second half, when Dougherty took the ball to the outside on an option play and broke off a 69-yard touchdown run, building a 38-10 lead for Bruno.

“I read the defensive end, and saw that he was crashing down on the running back,” Dougherty said. “So I pulled it back, and the receivers made some great blocks downfield, and I was able to take it all the way.”

The defense continued to show no mercy to the Big Green, as linebacker Steve Ziogas ’09 forced a fumble, which was recovered by tackle Joseph McPhee ’09 at the Dartmouth 40. Ziogas had a big game, finishing with seven tackles, including one for a loss.

Starting in great field position, Dougherty completed a 25-yard pass to Farnham, eventually setting up another 1-yard touchdown run for Sewall.

“Any time your defense forces a lot of turnovers, and you’re able to hold onto the ball, you’re going to be successful and win games,” Dougherty said.

Neither team scored again until the final play of the game, when the Big Green got into the end zone to make the final score 45-16.

Tackle David Howard ’09 registered the only sack of the day for Brown, while linemen Peter Hughes ’10, James Develin ’10 and Wale Adedokun ’09 each made a tackle for a loss.

Several running backs saw action for Brown on Saturday, as Wayne Ritter ’10 had four carries for 40 yards, Marc Howland ’11 had four carries for 34 yards, and Daniel Ball ’11 had five carries for 22 yards. Knight and Jonathan Edwards ’09 each finished with 37 rushing yards on the day.

Brown is currently tied for first place in the Ivy League with Harvard at 5-1, so the Bears can clinch a share of the title with a win over Columbia (2-7, 2-4 Ivy) this Saturday. With a Yale win over Harvard, Brown will win the championship outright.

“We are eager to win, and we are focused,” Still wrote. “We work hard all week, whether it’s lifting, watching film, or practicing. As seniors we all want to end with a bang. We are in a position to do something special, so now it’s up to us.”

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