The football team flew down to Washington and soared past Georgetown University Saturday, crushing the Hoyas 37-10.
A week before its homecoming loss to the Bears (2-1, 0-1 Ivy), Georgetown (3-2) squeezed out a 21-20 victory at Princeton. That triumph broke the Hoyas' 13-game losing streak against Ivy League teams.
But Bruno, rebounding from its own homecoming defeat against Harvard, swept up the pieces and handed the Hoyas a reminder of their disappointing Ivy record.
"It was a good way to have the team respond" to the Crimson game, said Head Coach Phil Estes. "People put a lot of emphasis on the fact that it was a night game last week, it was on national TV, it was against Harvard, the defending champs. And you walk away from it a little bit down."
"We needed to snap back," he added.. "I thought our guys responded extremely well."
Their response was loud and relentless, beginning with a touchdown drive on Bruno's first possession, and it did not let up as the Bears went on to outscore Georgetown in every quarter.
"Coming off the loss to Harvard, we were looking to get back on the right foot," said running back Spiro Theodhosi '12.5.
Bruno first picked up the ball after Georgetown's opening drive ended in a sack by linebacker Luke Miller '12.5. That sack was the first of five suffered by sophomore quarterback Stephen Skon, the Hoyas' third-stringer.
"He kind of held the ball a few times a little too long, and we were able to get to him," Estes said.
The Bears harassed Skon all afternoon during his first collegiate start. The team's "great pass rush" was partially to blame for Skon's three interceptions, Estes said.
Just over two minutes after the Hoyas punted it away to end their first drive, Bruno's first touchdown came on a seven-yard pass from quarterback Patrick Donnelly '13 to tight end Andrew Marks '14, capping a 41-yard push. It was the first of two scoring passes for Donnelly, who registered 188 yards through the air.
"We wanted to throw a more quick game, get the ball off in the three-step," Estes said. "I think we did all those things particularly well."
But Donnelly said his offense could have done better. "We were still sputtering a little bit" in the first two quarters, he said.
"We were a little frustrated as an offense," he added. "We felt like we weren't playing well, we weren't executing well."
While Bruno may have been disappointed with its first half performance, Georgetown fared worse. Bottled up by a vicious Bears defense, the Hoyas could not get on the board until an 18-yard field goal brought the score to 10-3 as the first quarter expired.
And after a 53-yard touchdown drive by Georgetown to start off the second quarter and tie the game, Bruno shut the Hoyas down entirely.
"Defense played extremely well," Estes said. "I just think that (Defensive Coordinator Michael Kelleher) put a good game plan together ... this week I thought they tackled well, they put tremendous pressure on the quarterback and we created some turnovers."
The Bears pinned Georgetown at 166 total yards, with 19 rushing yards on 34 attempts. The Hoyas' offense was paralyzed in the second half, registering only one first down.
"We were all really fired up," said defensive lineman Ross Walthall '13. "I think we had a great game plan. We didn't do anything fancy, we just said, 'Hey, we need to stop the run.'"
On the other side of the ball, Bruno fought to rack up 27 unanswered points before the final whistle blew.
"We just settled down and played them really well in the second half," Theodhosi said.
The Hoyas are "very good defensively," Estes said. The defense boasts first team All-Patriot League linebacker and captain Robert McCabe and first team All-Patriot League cornerback Jeremy Moore, a National Football League prospect.
But the Bears' offense rolled right over them. Donnelly said Bruno's lead would have been even greater if not for missed scoring opportunities in the first half.
"There were a couple times where the offense sort of stalled out," he said. "But overall, every time you put 37 points on the board, it's a good day for the offense."
"Our offensive strategy is get the ball in our best players' hands," Estes said. "If (Theodhosi's) having a good day, he's going to get it. If Patrick's having a good day throwing it, we'll throw it."
Saturday was a good day for both. Donnelly threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and Theodhosi balanced the passing game with 143 rushing yards and a score.
Theodhosi's "done a terrific job of running and creating some nice opportunities," Estes said. "And I think that the line up front has been doing a great job of blocking."
Theodhosi also credited the line for his early season success. "We have a great offensive line. ... We do a great job of run blocking," he said, which lets him "do what I do in the open field."
It all came together for Bruno on Saturday, and Georgetown had no answer. But Estes said he isn't satisfied.
"Our special teams can play better. We can tackle better. We can block better up front. We had too many penalties, too many offsides, too many mistakes that were in this game," he said.
The Bears dropped 79 yards on penalties and recorded a fumble.
"We're not as bad as we looked against Harvard, and we're not as good as we looked against Georgetown," Estes said. "We've just got to keep grinding. If there's anybody patting us on the back that thinks that we've found the answers, I don't think they know this football team."