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Football team to host in-state rival URI under the lights

The Bears look to rebound from a conference loss to keep possession of the coveted Governor’s Cup

Brown Stadium will witness a clash of the two most storied programs in Rhode Island football history Saturday night when Bruno battles the University of Rhode Island for the 98th annual Governor’s Cup.

Brown (1-1, Ivy 0-1) enters the state rivalry on the heels of a disappointing 41-23 loss to Ivy foe Harvard (2-0, 1-0). Overcoming the Harvard loss was the dominant theme at practice this week, said Head Coach Phil Estes.

“The biggest part of my job is to let that go and move on,” he said. “Trying to get the team to understand … that game is over and not to bring (Harvard) into this game.”

But an Ivy-opening loss against a rival like Harvard is particularly tough to swallow, said quarterback and co-captain Patrick Donnelly ’14.

“It was a little hard to get over that,” he said. “Sunday you watch the film, and you dwell on it. Monday we have off — so you’re dwelling on it too. Then, Tuesday you put the pads back on and say, ‘Okay, we’ve got a new opponent.’”

To help the team move forward, Estes placed the Governor’s Cup in the middle of the practice field Wednesday. The scheduling could be a blessing in disguise because the Governor’s Cup rivalry distracted the players’ attention from this past weekend’s loss, said defensive end and co-captain Michael Yules ’14.

“You do practice a little harder when you get to look at the trophy in the middle of the field,” he said, adding that the energy level at practice has been high. “It’s Rhody week, and we look forward to it.”

The game is the first of two night games at Brown Stadium this year. The Bears are 2-1 when hosting games under the lights, including a victory to capture the 96th Governor’s Cup in 2011.

“The last 10 meetings have split five-five, so this is the rubber match,” said Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17. “It’s a good rivalry … and the fact that it’s under the lights is a recipe for an exciting evening here in Rhode Island.”

Though the last decade has been split, recent history favors the Bears, as they overpowered the Rams 17-7 last year and 35-21 in 2011. Bruno also leads the all-time series by a wide margin — 69 to 26.

“We’ve lost the last two, and the last time we were (at Brown Stadium) we got embarrassed,” said URI Head Coach Joe Trainer. “Our kids are excited about the opportunity to show how far we’ve come.”

The Rams (2-3, CAA 1-2) enter the game carrying the momentum of a 42-7 rout of Central Connecticut State University last week. The experienced URI defense has powered the team early in the season while the youthful offense has been learning the ropes, Trainer said.

The URI defense will have its hands full with Bruno running back John Spooney ’14. Two 100-yard games to start the season have opponents taking notice of the game-changing speed back. The Bears will look to Spooney early and often to boost the offense.

Adding to the Governor’s Cup festivities, a handful of Rhode Island sports legends will be honored at halftime.



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