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Bruno drops Governor's Cup in weekend showcase

Coming off its win over Harvard, the football team was brought down to earth with a 37-13 loss to URI on Saturday. Brown's sloppy play contributed to the loss, with the Rams capitalizing on two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt that set up a touchdown near the end of the first half.

Bruno had a chance to get on the board first when the offense moved the ball to the URI 29-yard line in the first quarter, off of a 52-yard run by receiver Buddy Farnham '10. But on a 46-yard field goal attempt, the kick from Robert Ranney '09 sailed wide right, and the Bears gave the ball up to the Rams. Later in the quarter, safety Chris Perkins '10 came up with an interception, which he returned 19 yards, to the URI 21. But once again, Brown failed to get on the scoreboard, when a series of unsuccessful runs pushed the Bears back to the 30, and Ranney's 47-yard kick attempt was blocked.

URI got on the board first with 5:32 left in the first half, when quarterback Derek Cassidy led the Rams on a 65-yard drive, culminating in a 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Joe Bellini, to put the Rams up 7-0.

With 1:07 left in the half, Brown began a drive at its own 29, and three consecutive incomplete passes ran almost no time off the clock. On fourth down, Ranney's woes continued, when his punt was blocked and recovered by the Rams at the Brown 17-yard line. It took URI just two plays to get into the end zone. Cassidy gained six yards on a run and then fired an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Johnson-Farrell. After a missed extra point, the Rams were up 13-0 with just 27 seconds left in the half.

A squib kick gave the Bears the ball at their own 48, and quarterback and co-captain Michael Dougherty '09 completed a long pass to Farnham. But Farnham was pushed out at the 6 as time ran out, and Bruno headed to the locker room trailing 13-0.

"Bad throws, dropped passes, missed blocks, and a few penalties really set us back on drives and prevented us from getting things going," Dougherty wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "They also did a good job pressuring us and getting us out of our comfort zone, but we beat ourselves."

Things did not get any better for Brown after intermission. The Rams put themselves in a second-and-25 situation with an illegal blocking penalty, but Cassidy found running back Jimmy Hughes for a 45-yard touchdown pass, increasing URI's lead to 20-0 less than two minutes into the third quarter.

On the following kickoff, returner Nkosi Still '09 put the Bears in good field position with a 22-yard return to the Brown 37, and a 28-yard completion from Dougherty to receiver Bobby Sewall '10 moved the ball to the URI 35 on the first play of the drive. Once again, though, Bruno came up short, when Dougherty's fourth-down pass from the 31 was intercepted at the 17.

On their next drive, the Bears finally found their rhythm. On third-and-six from the Brown 36, Dougherty passed to running back Dereck Knight '08.5 for a 25-yard completion, and on third-and-five from the URI 34, Dougherty and Sewall connected for another big play, this one resulting in a touchdown for the Bears, to cut the lead to a manageable 20-7.

"URI tried to play press man-to-man coverage on our wide receivers," Sewall wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "Anytime we see this we like to take advantage and throw the ball down field because we believe we can win those match-ups."

At the end of the third quarter, tackle David Howard '09 came up with a sack for a 10-yard loss on third-and-eight from the Brown 41, forcing URI to punt, but the Rams caught another break when Farnham fumbled on the return and URI recovered the ball at the Brown 9-yard line. The defense held strong, though, holding the Rams to a field goal.

On Brown's next drive, with the Rams up 23-7, Dougherty found Sewall for completions of 15 and 32 yards, and a 13-yard touchdown run by Knight cut the lead to 23-13 with 10:36 remaining. But the Bears would not come any closer, failing to convert a two-point attempt.

Ranney's kickoff went out of bounds, giving URI the ball at its own 40, and the Rams completed the 60-yard drive in just eight plays, including a 43-yard completion in a third-and-21 situation. URI eventually increased its lead to 30-13 on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

"You have to give URI credit, they took advantage of big plays on their special teams and great field position," Linebacker Steve Ziogas '09, who led Brown with eleven tackles on the day, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "We played a little foolish at times with costly penalties. You can't play good defense if you can't get off the field, and we gave them too many free yards and downs."

The Rams capitalized on another Brown turnover when tight end Colin Cloherty '09 fumbled at the Brown 28. Three plays later, Cassidy fired a 23-yard touchdown strike to Bellini, putting the score at 37-13.

On a day in which the offense struggled, Sewall was a bright spot, finishing with nine catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side, Howard finished with a sack and two tackles for losses to lead the Bears.

Though the loss comes as a major disappointment to the team, some players say they see it as a necessary wake-up call early in the season.

"We have been quite humbled as a team and realize that if we don't play how we're capable of playing we aren't going to reach our team goals, which is win an Ivy League Championship outright," Ziogas wrote.

The Bears will travel to play Holy Cross next weekend in their final non-conference game of the season and their final chance for a tune-up before resuming Ivy League play the following weekend at Princeton.

"There's a lot of people who are angry and frankly embarrassed about Saturday's game, especially the seniors," Dougherty wrote. "It's our responsibility to make sure we're ready for games and keep focus on the team, and we didn't do that last week, and we're not going to let that happen again. The loss doesn't change our goal of an Ivy League title, but I think it's definitely refocuses the team in a positive way."


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