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Governor's Cup to stay in Bears' trophy case

Bruno kept control of the Governor's Cup with a 17-7 victory over the University of Rhode Island in Kingston Saturday.
Fullback Cody Taulbee '14 ran for two touchdowns, the first pair of his collegiate career, and kicker Alexander Norocea '14 put away a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give Bruno (3-1, 0-1 Ivy) an insurmountable two-possession advantage. The Rams' (0-5) sole score came on a three-yard run from quarterback Bob Bentsen at the end of the first half.
"It's always good to win that, to keep the trophy here for another year," said quarterback Patrick Donnelly '13.
Bruno captured the Cup last year with a 35-21 win at home, and this season's contest boosted their overall record against Rhode Island to 69-26-2.
By the numbers, Bruno made few mistakes this weekend, with no fumbles, no interceptions, and only 35 yards given up to penalties. But Head Coach Phil Estes said he was not satisfied. "I'm pleased that we won," he said, but added, "We made some mistakes on a couple of plays."
Many of these missteps might go unnoticed to the average spectator, Estes added. But with "missed opportunities like those against really good football teams, you're going to find yourself in the loss column."
The Bears' offense generated only 245 yards, some scoring opportunities slipped by and running back Spiro Theodhosi '12.5 was injured on the game's second play. Theodhosi led the Bears in rushing yards in each of Bruno's first three games, and Donnelly said his absence is "a big loss for our team."
Up 14-7 at the end of the first half, the Bears managed to hang on to their early lead despite an underwhelming offensive performance. Donnelly overthrew a handful of passes, completing 14 of 28 for 125 yards and no touchdowns.
"I didn't play as well as I should have," he said. But "we ran the ball very well," with Taulbee and running back Mark Kachmer '13 rushing for a combined 120 yards.
The Bears came out on top, and URI never had the advantage, but the Bears relied on their defensive squad to stay one step ahead of the Rams.
"Once again, the defense did a good job," Estes said.
In the wake of Bruno's domination of Georgetown, when the Hoyas managed only one first down in the second half, the Bears' defense came out hot again Saturday. Co-captain and defensive back A.J. Cruz '13 said the defense wanted to hold the Rams to fewer than 100 yards rushing and 300 yards overall. And they succeeded, with URI running for 91 yards and registering only 284 total.
Estes said defensive backs Cruz and Emory Polley '14 played "very well." The duo broke up three passes between them, and the Rams threw for 193 yards.
"(Cruz and I) studied a lot of film together," Polley said. "We've played those receivers before, too, so we know what they're going to do in certain situations." He added that the defense owed much of its success against the Rams to pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers.
And Bruno came through at key moments when URI could have closed the gap. Co-captain and defensive lineman Ross Walthall '13 stalled a run on fourth-and-one at the Bears' 24-yard line in the fourth quarter, and Polley snagged the game's only interception a few minutes later.
"Most of the credit for the win goes to the defense," Donnelly said.
But defense alone does not win football games. The Bears will have to streamline their offense and turn more possessions into points as they head into the second half of the season, Estes said. From here on out, the team only plays conference foes.
"The competition gets better and better," Estes said. "With Harvard playing the way they are, you can't afford to have a letdown and get yourself behind the eight ball."
Next Saturday's game at Princeton will be Bruno's third in a row on the road, but Donnelly said the Bears are not especially affected by the game location.
"You've just got to have that mentality," he said. "Just got to play anybody, anytime, anywhere."
Though the Bears' defense may have carried the day against URI, Cruz said he is confident in the offense as well.
"We've got a lot of good players," he said. "We've got the players and the skill. ... Patrick is an incredible quarterback."
But "we've got to be able to put it all together," Cruz added. "We were fortunate to put together a victory with what our coach would say was not our best performance."


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