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Football disappoints under the lights

The football team’s hopes of an Ivy League Championship faded in a blowout defeat during Family Weekend

The Bears fell to Princeton 39-17 in their second Ivy League matchup of the season Saturday evening. Bruno (3-2, 0-2 Ivy) was up 17-0 midway through the second quarter, but Princeton (4-1, 2-0 Ivy) scored the next 39 points to clinch the victory.

Penalties and failed third-down conversions told the tale of Bruno’s defeat. During the game, Bruno lost 136 yards on 15 penalties, with 11 coming in the first half. The Bears converted just two of 12 opportunities on third down.

“That makes a big deal,” said Head Coach Phil Estes. “You can’t play with that many penalties. You can’t turn the ball over and create momentum for them. We did all of that for them in the second half.”

In the second quarter, John Spooney ’14 walked gingerly off the field with what appeared to be symptoms of a concussion. After his first touch of the third quarter, Spooney immediately left the game and did not return. Estes said Spooney was almost apologetic to the coaching staff by saying that if he had stayed down longer, he might have been able to go back into the game.

“When he’s out of the game, you lose a lot of offense,” Estes said. “He’s a playmaker. He makes a play for six yards go for a touchdown.”

After a three-and-out on its first drive of the game, Bruno got the ball right back after Courtland Clavette ’15 recovered a fumbled Princeton punt at the Tigers’ 23-yard line. But two penalties killed the ensuing drive, and the Bears had to settle for an Alex Norocea ’14 field goal.

Bruno’s next possession was a quick one. After co-captain Pat Donnelly ’13.5 rushed for a first down, Spooney busted through a hole on the right side, rushing 71 yards to put Brown up 10-0.

At the end of the first quarter, Bruno pinned the Tigers deep in their own zone when Jay Davis ’15 downed a Grant Senne ’16 punt at the Princeton 1-yard line. Dan Giovacchini ’15 ended the three-play Princeton drive with a sack. On fourth down, Michael Walsh ’16 put Bruno back on the board, recovering a punt blocked by Jacob Supron ’15 and taking it into the end zone.

Midway through the second quarter, Princeton scored its first points when Brian Mills capped off a 15-play, 88-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 17-6. After a high snap, Nolan Bieck missed the extra point for the Tigers.

Princeton came out firing in the second half, scoring on an 18-yard rushing touchdown just over a minute into the third quarter. The Tigers could not convert the two-point conversion but brought their deficit to just five points.

After the Princeton defense stopped Donnelly on a third-and-one rushing attempt, the Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game. Connor Michelsen completed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Des Smith for the score. Once again, Princeton failed on a conversion attempt, but led 18-17.

On the next drive, Bruno turned in yet another three-and-out when Tellef Lundevall ’13.5 came up just one yard short of the first down. Princeton took over, putting together a seven-play, 94-yard touchdown drive led by Quinn Epperly with two 25-yard completions and a run up the middle for the score.

After Bruno’s third three-and-out of the second half, Epperly came up big again, putting the Tigers up 32-17 on a 32-yard touchdown run.

The game developed similarly to Bruno’s trip to Harvard three weeks ago. In that game, the Bears scored the first 13 points before the Crimson came back to score the next 31.

“I know we can correct all of these things,” Estes said. “We’ve had two games where we get off to a really good start, and then we lose that momentum. We just can’t do that. We’ve got to correct the self-inflicted wounds.”

Brown will try to rebound on the road against Cornell (1-4, Ivy 0-2) next week and Princeton will travel to Harvard (5-0, Ivy 2-0).


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