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Bears defend home turf against Crusaders

Last season, close losses plagued the football team. Five of the team's seven defeats were decided by seven points or fewer, contributing to a disappointing 3-7 finish.

After suffering devastatingly close losses to Harvard and the University of Rhode Island in the past two weeks, the Bears are looking to reverse the curse when they host the College of the Holy Cross at 12:30 on Saturday.

First-year starting quarterback Michael Dougherty '09 said the team has not yet performed to its full potential.

"We've still got a long way to go," he said. "We're a 1-2 team, but we should be 3-0."

In last weekend's game, the Bears came painfully close to winning the Governor's Cup, but URI's dominant triple-option offense and Brown's inability to close out the win resulted in a 49-42 double-overtime loss. This weekend the Bears will look to prove they possess the maturity and poise necessary to play well for all four quarters and emerge victorious.

On the positive side, last weekend's game showcased several new offensive weapons. After throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter of the loss to Harvard, Dougherty showed aplomb against URI, completing 27 of 47 passes for 407 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Paul Raymond '08 accounted for 221 of those passing yards, which tied for the fourth-best receiving day in Brown history. And with tri-captain running back Dereck Knight '08 sidelined with a foot injury, Jonathan Edwards '09 scored four rushing touchdowns in his first start for Brown.

"Dereck's been there helping me the whole way," Edwards said. "Whenever I come off the field, he's the first one to greet me on the sideline to tell me what I did right and what I did wrong."

Brown's offense also utilized the versatility of receiver Bobby Sewall '10, who in high school was both a quarterback and a champion sprinter. On Saturday, in addition to seven receptions for 43 yards, Sewall gained 10 yards on two rushes and completed a 20-yard pass on a flea-flicker in overtime.

"There's a lot we can do with Bobby," said Head Coach Phil Estes following the game against URI. "The more in-game experience he gets, the better he'll get."

Despite the abundance of talent, the team's biggest problem has been inconsistency on both sides of the ball, particularly late in the game. In the fourth quarter against Harvard, two trips into Harvard territory ended in an interception and a missed field goal for Brown, and in the fourth quarter of last weekend's game against URI, the Bears failed to convert a second-and-goal opportunity from inside the 1-yard line, keeping the Rams in the game and allowing them to force overtime.

"It's not like we have any doubt about ourselves as a team," Edwards said. "If we play mistake-free, we should beat every team we play. We just need to be disciplined and play smart."

This weekend Brown will face a Holy Cross team that is 2-2 and coming off a 38-17 loss to Yale. The Crusaders feature a passing game that has averaged over 300 yards per game, an attack the Bears will have to contain in order to stay in the game.

After gaining just 2.3 yards per carry last week, Brown will also look to establish its running game against a Holy Cross defense that allowed 412 yards on the ground in its last game.

"We have to attack on all cylinders," Edwards said. "(Dougherty's) been doing a great job of stretching the field and making big plays, and (the running backs) need to help him out."

This weekend will mark the end of Brown's non-league season. The Bears hope to gain momentum going into their Oct. 13 matchup with Ivy League rival Princeton.

"Every game is a must-win for us," Dougherty said. "It would be great to have a win going into Ivy League play, to give us confidence."



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