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Football team seeks to bully Bulldogs

The squad hopes to go undefeated against non-conference opponents for the third year in a row

The football team captured the Governor’s Cup last weekend and its Rhode Island matchups continue Saturday when the Bears travel to Bryant University.

The in-state foe is the only team standing between Bruno (2-1, Ivy 0-1) and its third consecutive undefeated season against non-conference opponents. The squad has gone 8-0 in these matchups since 2010, but Saturday will mark the first time in team history that Brown has squared off against Bryant (3-2, NEC 1-0).

The team considers non-conference games as important to success as Ivy League games, said quarterback and co-captain Patrick Donnelly ’13.5, adding that “outsiders” might overlook a non-league opponent. Watching film of the talented Bryant team has shown the Bears how focused their play must be to win Saturday, Donnelly said.

“They have a lot of good players and particularly a good defense,” Donnelly said. “We’re thinking this is as tough a team as we’ve seen all season.”

The Bulldogs have some impressive wins, including a victory over Holy Cross University (2-4), a team that beat Ivy competitor Dartmouth (1-2, 0-1) and took Harvard (3-0, 1-0) to three overtimes before falling.

The Bears will look to their productive offense to overpower the Bulldog defense. The offensive attack is averaging more than 400 yards and 33 points per game this season. Look for them to start early, as Bruno has notched five first-quarter touchdowns this season and grabbed the first lead in every game.

Speedy running back John Spooney ’14, the offensive sparkplug and leading scorer for the Bears, left last week’s game with an injury, but he is expected to return to the backfield Saturday. Multiple players were hurt last week, but Donnelly said the injuries were not serious and that they expect to have “all hands on deck” against Bryant.

Donnelly said the film has shown man-to-man coverage schemes in the Bulldogs’ defense, and he said he will look to spread the ball and take what the defense gives him when attacking Bryant. Wide receiver Tellef Lundevall ’13.5 hauled in 10 catches last week and expects to be a major target for Donnelly.

As for the Northeast Conference competitor, the Bulldogs’ early season success has centered on a strong running game led by dual tailbacks Paul Canevari and Ricardo McCray. Despite splitting the carries, each back averages more than 85 yards a game, and the pair has combined for eight touchdowns.

Bruno defensive end and co-captain Michael Yules ’14 said the Bears can stifle the Bulldog’s ground attack if defenders stay disciplined in their jobs because their defense is “predicated around stopping the run.”

While the trenches will likely be the site of much of the action, there will be an interesting matchup on the outside as Bryant senior receiver Jordan Harris, who has accounted for almost half the Bulldog’s receiving yards, will be pitted against preseason All-Ivy cornerback Emory Polley ’14, who grabbed two interceptions in last Saturday’s Governor’s Cup.

Though this is the first time Brown will battle Bryant, Donnelly was quick to call the Bulldogs a “rival” and recognize the matchup’s gravity.

“We go in thinking this is a game we must win,” he said. “It’s another team in-state. It’s another big rivalry game.”



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