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Bruno looking for Crimson to blush Saturday

When the football team takes the field against Harvard this Saturday, the Bears will be up against the defending Ivy League champions, a team they have not beaten since 1999. After cruising to a 17-7 win over non-conference opponent Stony Brook in the season opener last Saturday, the Bears know they will have to execute to perfection to open their Ivy League season with a victory in the Brown Homecoming game.

Against Stony Brook, Brown jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter, but the offense quickly fell apart. Quarterback and co-captain Michael Dougherty '09 threw two interceptions, while the team also fumbled four times.

"We got complacent there, and kind of rested on scoring 17 points (early)," Dougherty said. "The fundamentals are what are really important, especially taking care of the ball and not turning it over. But I think we got that out of our system now, and we're ready to roll."

Brown's offense relied primarily on the run and the short pass against Stony Brook's zone coverage, with Dougherty averaging only seven yards per completion, the longest of which was a 22-yard pass to receiver Buddy Farnham '10. Against Harvard, though, the Bears may look to go deep to Farnham and fellow receiver Bobby Sewall '10.

"Stony Brook is a team that's really going to keep everything in front of them... and their main goal is to not give up the big play," Dougherty said. "Harvard does a good job of mixing up their defenses, but there are going to be some shots to make big plays, and we have to make sure we take advantage of those."

Dougherty did just that in last season's game at Harvard, when he and receiver Paul Raymond '08 connected for a 63-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

The Bears will also look for continued production from their two running backs, Jonathan Edwards '09 and Dereck Knight '08.5. In the season opener Edwards rushed for 49 yards, on 14 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown, while Knight carried the ball 12 times for 49 yards.

The game will perhaps be an even bigger test for Brown's defense, which started off the season with a spectacular performance against Stony Brook. Defensive end James Develin '10 terrorized the offensive line all day, finishing with 3.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks, and linebacker Steve Ziogas '09 made eight tackles and put pressure on the quarterback throughout the game. The Bears held Stony Brook to a mere 36 yards on 29 rush attempts, effectively shutting down an offense that had previously averaged 169.3 rushing yards per game.

But this week, the defense will take on an offensive opponent that thrives on its passing game, led by 2007 First Team All-Ivy quarterback Chris Pizzotti, who threw for 370 yards in the Crimson's season-opening 25-24 win over Holy Cross.

"You still have to take away the run, because every team will try to establish the run," Ziogas said. "But we didn't even get a chance to show off some our more skilled players in the secondary.... I'm confident in our defense and I think we should do a pretty good job."

The task will be even more daunting for the defense with the sidelining of cornerback and co-captain Darrell Harrison '09, who will likely miss the game with a knee injury. Despite the loss of the most experienced player in Brown's secondary, the team remains confident.

"You can never replace a player like Darrell. He's a great player, he's a lock-down corner, probably the best corner in the league," Ziogas said. "But this is an opportunity for another kid who's just been dying to go out there and start in Division I football to go out and show what he's got."

This weekend's game will not only be a barometer of the team's skill level, but a win may also be necessary if the Bears hope to win an Ivy League championship this season, as Harvard finished last season with a perfect 7-0 Ivy League record. Brown came close in last year's match-up with Harvard, grabbing a 17-14 lead in the second quarter, but the Crimson eventually came away with a 24-17 win. In spite of the recent history between the two teams, the Bears are optimistic.

"The first two or three years I was here, there was a real palpable sense of anxiousness and pressure, but I genuinely think that I don't feel that this year," Dougherty said. "I can't put my finger on why... but there's definitely something different about this year."


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