NEW HAVEN — Running back Mark Kachmer '13 ripped off a record-breaking 95-yard touchdown run and never looked back, totaling 213 yards of offense and three scores to lead the football team in a 34-28 win over Yale in New Haven Saturday. The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) made a frantic comeback late in the fourth quarter, but could not catch the Bears (7-1, 4-1), who won their sixth straight and sent home a disappointed crowd at the Yale Bowl.
"We knew it'd be a struggle," said Head Coach Phil Estes. "We knew we were in for a game, and I just think it was a grind — and we won the grind."
Brown's defense again turned in a stellar performance. The unit held Yale's offense to seven net rushing yards and shut down Mordecai Cargill, who ran for 235 yards against Columbia the previous week. Yale quarterback Patrick Witt threw for 370 yards, but was picked off three times by the ball-hawking Brown defense.
"The story of the game was that we capitalized on turnovers and made some big plays," Estes said. "I think (Kachmer's) run in the first quarter was setting the tone."
Kachmer's run was the longest in Brown football history and put the Bears on the board first. On third-and-six from Brown's five-yard line, Kachmer, who had missed the past two games with turf toe, took the handoff on a draw play up the middle, following fullback Jackson Freeman '13 through a hole. He then cut outside and took off down the right sideline, sprung by a pair of key blocks from wide receivers Tellef Lundevall '13, who flattened a cornerback, and Alex Tounkara-Kone '11.5, who sprinted upfield alongside Kachmer to take care of the last potential tackler.
"That's not necessarily where I was supposed to go, but I watched my fullback go outside on the play, and I just followed him," Kachmer said. "He did a great job blocking that outside linebacker. Then I saw Lundevall just kind of kill that corner. After that it was off to the races."
But the momentum of the historic run was short-lived. Yale answered immediately with a six-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard rushing touchdown by Witt to even the score at 7-7.
The Bears reclaimed the lead early in the second quarter when quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero '11.5 connected with Jimmy Saros '12 for a 20-yard touchdown reception. Newhall-Caballero made the cornerback bite with a pump fake, then hit Saros in stride as he crossed the goal line alongside the right pylon. Newhall-Caballero threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns, while Saros led the receiving corps with six catches for 84 yards and a score.
Brown extended its lead to 20-7 with 1:28 remaining in the second quarter on another Newhall-Caballero touchdown pass. After winning the field position battle and starting at Yale's 37-yard line, it took only 21 seconds before Newhall-Caballero found Jonah Fay '12 for a leaping, six-yard catch in the end zone.
In the third quarter, the Bears added to their lead after Adam Pelzer '13 came flying in and got a piece of the ball on a Yale punt. The partial block set Newhall-Caballero and his offense up at Yale's 21-yard line, and Kachmer finished the short drive when he dove into the end zone on a direct snap from a yard out to make the score 27-7.
After a Witt touchdown pass cut the lead to 27-14, the game took a wild turn in the fourth quarter. In a bizarre, back-and-forth six minute span, there were four turnovers. During this time, Yale could not manage to put any points on the board. Kicker Philippe Panico pushed a 29-yard field goal attempt wide right, and after a pair of Brown three-and-outs, Witt was twice picked off by A.J. Cruz '13 and Matt O'Donnell '12.
Brown finally took control after recovering a bobbled punt return at Yale's 10-yard line. On third-and-goal, Newhall-Caballero rolled out and found Kachmer wide open for the touchdown catch. The score was the third of the day for each, and stretched Brown's lead to 34-14 with 8:55 left in the game.
But the Bears were not out of the woods yet. Witt scored on a quarterback sneak with 5:42 to play then connected with Cargill for a 22-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 34-28 with 1:28 to play.
Out of timeouts, the Bulldogs needed to recover an onside kick to give themselves a chance. But on the kickoff, the six-foot-three inch tall Lundevall rose up above the crowd just as he was hit to "make a heck of a catch," according to Estes.
The Bears had one final scare when the snap on the game-ending kneel-down was mishandled. But in the ensuing confusion, the referees ruled that Brown recovered, and the Bears could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
"We made what could have been a really boring game really interesting at the end there," Estes said. "You always knew that with the kind of skill they have, that they always have the opportunity to come back, but when you're up by three touchdowns, it's a matter of getting first downs and we blew it down there."
The loss bumps Yale down to fourth place in the Ivy standings and effectively eliminates them from contention for the Ivy crown.
"We didn't play well enough to win a game of that magnitude," said Yale head coach Tom Williams. "We had opportunities to have a good day today, and we didn't do it."
The Bears will now return home to take on Dartmouth (3-5, 2-3) next week before traveling to Columbia (0-8, 0-5) for the season finale. They remain a game behind Harvard (7-1, 5-0) in the Ivy standings. The Crimson control its own destiny and can win the league outright by winning its final two games, but those victories will have to come against a pair of tough opponents — the Bulldogs and defending champion Penn (5-3, 4-1).