Sports

Football Preview: For wideout, URI rivalry is personal

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 2009

Star wide receiver Bobby Sewall ’10 used to root against Brown football. Growing up, he went to the annual games between Brown and the University of Rhode Island with his mom, a URI graduate, cheered for her alma mater and wondered if he could one day play in a game like that.

Now he has — three times. But he has zero wins against the Rams to show for it, and when the Bears host their rivals from Kingston this weekend, the game will be Sewall’s last chance to beat the team he used to root for.

“It would be nice to end that with a win,” he said.

Win or lose, he’s come along way. Sewall’s mom will sit on the Brown side of the stands on Saturday.

And, he said, she’s “got all of the Brown gear now.”
 

A rivalry that runs deep

As if his childhood fandom weren’t enough, Sewall has another reason to want a win against the Rams on Saturday. Sewall, a Rhode Island native, was recruited by both Brown and URI.

URI offered him a full-ride scholarship, but Sewall chose Brown anyway. A quarterback in high school, Sewall was recruited by Brown to play wide receiver. He said he wanted to be in a spread offense, where a receiver could make a real impact.

“At Brown, you can play top-notch football and get a top-notch education,” Sewall added.
James Perry, the team’s recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach, said almost every high school player recruited by Brown is also recruited by URI.

“I think we both work hard to do well in recruiting in our own backyard,” Perry said. “When there are Division I-caliber football players in the state, we’re both on them.”

It’s only once a year that the rivalry shifts from high schoolers’ living rooms to the playing field — kickoff is Saturday at 12:30.

“Even if you have a down season, but you beat Brown, it still is a sense of accomplishment,” said URI tight end Dave Wilson.

Playing against a pass-first offense and an aggressive defense, the Bears will face a team that, in many ways, looks similar to them.

“The biggest stat that sticks out in my mind … is that they have created 17 fumbles,” said Head Coach Phil Estes, referring to URI’s defense. “They make a tackle — it’s a gang tackle and they’re trying to strip the football.”

Brown has forced and recovered three fumbles in its two games, and no one has forced a fumble against the Bears this season.

Both teams run a spread offense, and the quarterbacks may have tired arms by the end of the game. Kyle Newhall ’11 and URI quarterback Chris Paul-Etienne are both in their first year as starters.

In two outings, Newhall has thrown for four touchdowns, three interceptions and an average of 246 yards per game.

One of his favorite targets on Saturday should be Sewall, who scored all of Brown’s touchdowns last week against Harvard, two rushing and one receiving. Buddy Farnham ’10, who leads the Bears’ receiving corps with 18 catches and 156 yards, should also get plenty of touches.

In his first three games under center, Paul-Etienne, a transfer from Rutgers, has thrown for an average of 156.7 yards per game with three touchdowns and three interceptions for the Rams.

“We do run the ball,” Wilson said. “But our main threat on offense is through the air.”
Paul-Etienne throws to a number of different receivers. After three games, no one on the team has more than nine receptions, and 13 different Rams have at least one catch.

Against an offense that passes often, Brown’s secondary should be tested. In last week’s loss to Harvard, cornerback David Clement ’10 nearly shut down preseason All-American receiver Matt Luft. Russell Leedy ’11 and A.J. Cruz ’13, who split time at the other corner, will likely see more balls thrown to their side.

It will be a former Brown defensive back, R.I. Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65, who will present the Governor’s Cup to the winning team at the end of the game.

“I’m sure Gov. Carcieri isn’t so happy that the last three years he has been handing the trophy, as a Brown grad, over to the URI coaches,” Estes said. “We’re going to do our best to make sure that thing comes back to Providence.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*