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Bears defeat Tigers, 33-24, in 'badly needed' win

In front of a homecoming crowd on Saturday, the football team (2-3, 1-1 Ivy League) fought its way to what Head Coach Phil Estes called a "badly needed" win. Brown's defense forced six turnovers in the 33-24 win over Princeton, finally showing some big play potential for the first time since the opening game of the season.

Brown built a lead of 27-10 over the Tigers on the strength of a passing attack that has been a positive all season. Michael Dougherty '09 threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns, receiver Bobby Sewall '10 caught a touchdown and ran for another and wide receivers Buddy Farnham '10 and Paul Raymond '08 each went for over 100 yards. The third straight outstanding passing day gave Dougherty the Division I-AA lead in passing yardage. Another milestone was achieved Saturday when kicker Steve Morgan '08 surpassed the Ivy League field goal career total of 46 when he kicked a 22-yard chip shot with 8:02 remaining in the game.

Morgan had three other field goals on the day, giving him 47 for his career.

"I think it's really a team accomplishment for the last four years," Morgan said. "It's a result of having such a potent offense."

But Morgan added "It felt good to get it done."

Brown's formidable offensive attack was expected after hanging 37 and 42 points in losses to the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Rhode Island respectively. But it was the defense that spurred the Bears to victory on Saturday. The team displayed a hard-hitting and aggressive defensive approach, qualitites that had been lacking in the team's three losses. Brown used jarring hits to force turnovers at opportune times, including an interception by Darrell Harrison '09 that sealed the win for the Bears.

The Bears received contributions from a variety of sources. Steve Ziogas '09 had an interception and forced a fumble, Joseph McPhee '09 forced a fumble and recovered another, Jake Powers '09 recovered two fumbles and Harrison added a forced fumble to his interception. The Bears also benefited from strong play from tri-captain Eric Brewer '08 and Jose Yearwood '08, who was returning from an injury.

"One of our goals has been not to turn the ball over, but getting the ball, creating turnovers," Estes said.

On a crisp fall afternoon, Brown's offense opened the game with efficiency. The Bears penetrated deep into Tiger territory on their first drive of the game, but lost the ball on a fumble by receiver Sewall.

On the ensuing drive, the defense responded emphatically when defensive end James Develin '10 laid a forceful hit on Princeton quarterback Bill Foran to jar the ball free. Powers dove on the loose pigskin, and the Bears regained possession at the Princeton 7.

This time Dougherty went straight for the end zone, lofting a pass over the top for Sewall in the back left corner of the end zone, and putting Bruno ahead 7-0.

With 49 seconds left in the first quarter, the Princeton offense burned the Bears for the first time in the game. Foran found a receiver wide open for an easy 48-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

Brown's next scoring drive began when Farnham returned a punt 14 yards to the Princeton 44, and then the offense went to work. A 14-yard completion to tight end Colin Cloherty '09 moved the ball to the 30, and the Bears moved the ball into comfortable field goal range with short passes and runs up the middle. Facing a fourth-and-three on the Princeton 13, Estes called on Morgan, who converted the 30-yard attempt to regain the lead, 10-7.

With 4:55 left in the first half, Brown expanded its lead when Dougherty lofted a pass over the top to hit Farnham in stride on the right hash. Farnham ran into the end zone untouched for the 43-yard touchdown, which put the Bears ahead 17-7.

"I feel like we can get the ball to anyone," Farnham said. "If we get the ball in our receivers' hands, they'll make plays."

Princeton drove deep into Brown territory on its next drive, but the defense made several big plays to keep the Tigers out of the end zone. First, Yearwood tipped away a would-be touchdown pass. Then, on a quarterback keeper, Foran appeared to have a clear path to the end zone, but linebacker Jon May '09 tripped him up from behind. Brown also saw big plays from linebackers Ziogas and Miles Craigwell '09, who made key tackles near the end zone, forcing the Tigers to settle for a field goal, to cut Brown's lead to 17-10 at half.

"We simplified our defense," said defensive lineman Kai Brown '08. "Hit, tackle, make plays."

In the third quarter, the Bears took control of the game with their hard-hitting defense and precisely executed offense. On Princeton's first drive, Craigwell forced a fumble, and Powers recovered his second fumble of the game, returning the ball to the Princeton 26.

The offense capitalized on the turnover when Dougherty found Farnham over the middle for 23 yards to bring the Bears to the 3-yard line. Sewall, a high school quarterback, lined up in the shotgun formation, took a direct snap and dove into the end zone to make the score 24-10.

With nine minutes left in the quarter, Morgan added a 44-yard field goal, his longest of the season, to put Brown up by 17 points. Then Brown's defense went to work, forcing turnovers on three straight possessions.

Two of those turnovers were the work of Ziogas. The linebacker got the start in place of Frank Nuzzo '09, the team's leading tackler entering the game, who was sidelined with a foot injury.

"I thought (Ziogas) played a big game for us," Estes said.

After the dominant third quarter, the game appeared to be in jeopardy in the fourth. After Morgan's first missed field goal of the day, Foran found a hole on a fourth down keeper up the middle, and ran 64 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 27-17.

Morgan converted another field goal opportunity, but the Tigers answered two possessions later with a 39-yard touchdown pass, to put the score at 30-24.

Princeton threatened to complete the comeback when a short kickoff was almost recovered by the Tigers, before the ball bounced out of bounds at the Brown 31.

On the ensuing Brown drive, a 42-yard completion to Raymond moved the ball to the Princeton 6, setting up Morgan's fourth, and record-breaking, field goal to make it a two-possession game again, at 33-24.

On the next drive, Foran lofted a pass downfield, which Harrison read perfectly and intercepted, to seal the win for the Bears.

The team will try to carry their aggressiveness and consistency into their remaining five games, all against Ivy League opponents, beginning with a game at Cornell next Saturday.

"In last week's game, we made a great comeback, but we didn't finish," Estes said. "This week, we added the finish."


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