Sports

Top Ivy receivers to duel as football faces Cornell

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, October 23, 2009

Coming off of a three-game homestand, the football team will hit the road to face Cornell on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Wide receiver and returner Buddy Farnham ’10 put on a show last week, amassing 309 all-purpose yards in the Bears’ 34-17 victory over Princeton. For his performance, Farnham was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week and received the Gridiron Club of Boston’s Gold Helmet Award as the outstanding player in New England.

The game against Cornell (2-3, 1-1 Ivy) will show if Brown’s defense has learned anything from facing Farnham in practice, as the Bears (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) will try to shut down Bryan Walters, Cornell’s star wide receiver and returner.

Walters is averaging 203 all-purpose yards per game this season, making him the only player in the Ivy League with more all-purpose yards than Farnham.

Walters, who also leads the Ivy League in return yards, may have a good chance to put the Big Red in favorable field position this weekend.

Brown Head Coach Phil Estes said his team’s punt and kickoff game has been “very hot and cold” through five games.

Punter Nate Lovett ’12 “has at times been very good,” Estes said. “The last few games, he has struggled — just in where he places the ball.”

Estes said Lovett has also had some difficulties on kickoffs recently.

“We are trying to place it, and because those kicks have been shallow, we’ve given offenses great field position,” he said.

If Brown’s punt and kickoff teams continue to struggle, Walters could have a big day at the Bears’ expense.

Walters is not just a threat on special teams. He is second in the league in receiving yards, behind Farnham. He had 10 receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown in the Big Red’s 39-27 loss to Fordham last weekend.

But questions still remain about who will pass to Walters on Saturday. Cornell’s starting quarterback, Ben Ganter, missed last week’s game due to injury and was replaced by Adam Currie and Stephen Liuzza and Chris Amhrern.

Cornell Head Coach Jim Knowles called Ganter “day-to-day” and said he’ll make a “game-time decision” as to who starts under center against Brown.

Last week Currie was 15-of-28 passing for 207 yards and one touchdown, but he also threw four interceptions — as many as Ganter had thrown in the previous four games combined.

“We had to play a couple of young quarterbacks,” Knowles said. “They threw the ball pretty well. Unfortunately they threw it to the other team pretty well a few times also.”

Liuzza, who is listed as a wide receiver on the team roster, took snaps at quarterback last week out of the wildcat formation. He was two-of-six passing for 55 yards and gained 166 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

The wildcat formation would not be anything new for the Bears’ defense, which is used to facing Bruno’s own wildcat formation in practice.

The Bears’ offensive attack has been dominated by the pass this season. Quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero ’11 averages 41.8 passing attempts per game and leads the Ancient Eight in yards, touchdowns, completions and completion percentage.

“Brown is prolific on offense — very talented at the skilled positions,” Knowles said.
The Cornell coach said his defense can’t afford to miss tackles and must keep Brown’s receivers inside and in front of their defensive backs.

“They’re going to complete some passes,” Knowles said. “We’ve got to make sure … we’re able to not give up the big play.”

Cornell has used both three and four-man defensive lines this season. Brown’s passing attack will likely see a combination of the packages.

“They really rock and roll on defense, whether they’re going with a three-down scheme or a four-down scheme,” Estes said. “Our quarterback is really going to have to make sure that we’re identifying the right people to pick up so that we can make the right plays downfield.”

Newhall-Caballero’s ability to read opposing defenses is one of his greatest strengths, according to coaches and teammates.

In the last three games — all of which Brown has won — Newhall has 910 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Big Red is coming off of its third consecutive loss, a game in which they gave up 420 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

Brown hasn’t had an away game in four weeks, and the Bears are 0-2 on opponents’ turf this season.

“We’ll see if we can change our luck on road games,” Estes said.

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