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Bears duel with Duquesne on Saturday

After the loss of several valuable seniors to graduation, the football team will kick off its season Saturday against Duquense University. This season the Bears will look to their returning veterans to anchor the team, but they will also need many relatively untested players to rise to the challenge.

The Bears are optimistic that a positive spring and fall of practice will allow them to improve upon last year's 3-7 record.

Unfortunately the team's biggest question mark coming into the season is at one of the most crucial positions - quarterback. Michael Dougherty '09 will lead the offense after backing up All-Ivy League quarterback Joe DiGiacomo '07 last season. Dougherty threw only 10 passes last season and is virtually untested in the regular season at the collegiate level. Dougherty has shown great promise in preseason camp, and he will also have a talented set of receivers to work with led by Paul Raymond '08.

Last season, Raymond established himself as one of the premiere receivers in the Ivy League, making 45 receptions for 654 yards and four touchdowns. He provides speed on the outside - he is the two-time Ivy League champion in the 60-meter dash. Raymond will be complemented by receivers Bobby Sewall '10 and Buddy Farnham '10, and both have shown flashes of excellence in their time with the Bears.

In the 2006 season, Farnham amassed 191 receiving yards, including a 64-yard performance against the University of Rhode Island, and Sewall made four catches for 47 yards in the Bears' overtime win against the University of Pennsylvania. The receiving core is completed by tight end Colin Cloherty '09, who caught 18 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns in 2006, including a 94-yard, two-touchdown effort in Brown's win over Cornell.

Co-captain Derrick Knight '08 is expected to be the Bears' leading rusher after ranking second on the team with 213 rushing yards last season. Knight split time at halfback in 2006, carrying the ball only 49 times, but he has shown huge potential, particularly in his breakout performance for 96 rushing yards against Cornell.

Bruno's running game should be boosted by an experienced offensive line. In addition to co-captain A.J. Tracey '08, the line will feature All-Ivy guard Jimmy Tull '08, as well as Matthew Adkins '09 and Shane Kelley '09 - all returning starters.

"Our young offense has been doing really well," tri-captain linebacker Eric Brewer '08 said. The defense "knows that we won't have to win games by ourselves."

The Bears will feature an experienced defense, led by Brewer, who earned All-Ivy honors at the linebacker position in 2006. Brewer is the team's top returning tackler, having made 82 tackles last season, including 5.5 for losses. He will be joined by fellow linebacker Frank Nuzzo '09 who returns after missing last season. Nuzzo was a starter on Brown's 2005 Ivy League Championship team. The secondary will also return several starters from last season, including All-Ivy safety Jose Yearwood '08.

Also returning in the secondary are cornerback Darrell Harrison '09, who ranked fourth on the team with 56 tackles last season, and cornerback Matt Mullenax '08, who led the Bears with three interceptions.

The defensive line will be led by tackle Kai Brown '08, who earned All-Ivy honors in 2006. He recorded 30 tackles, including a team-high 2.5 sacks. Also returning from last season's starting defensive line are defensive end Patrick Fisher '08 and tackle Joseph McPhee '09.

One of the Bears' greatest strengths will be in the kicking game. They rely on the foot of Steve Morgan '08, who has been named an All-Ivy punter and an All-New England kicker for three consecutive years. He ranks third in Ivy League history with 39 career field goals, and fourth in kicking points with 212. He needs just seven field goals and 18 points to break both records - a likely feat this year.

While Brown will play its season opener on Saturday, Duquesne already has game experience this fall. The Dukes opened their season with a 28-19 loss to Bucknell on Sept. 1.

"Duquesne's already been in in-season mode for two weeks now," Brewer said. "Our biggest challenge right now is not having a game under our belt. Going from hitting each other to hitting an opponent will be an adjustment."

The Bears hope to improve upon last year's 3-7 overall record, in which five of the losses came by seven points or less, in some cases coming down to the final play of the game.

"This is a relentless team," Brewer said. "We need to just play every down and every game relentlessly."



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