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Rosenbauer ’16 runs over Quakers, propels football to victory

Backup quarterback rushes 206 yards, logs two touchdowns as Bears gain second straight Ivy win

The football team grabbed its fourth win of the season Saturday, traveling to Philadelphia and riding a strong defensive effort from backup quarterback Seth Rosenbauer ’16, who has emerged as a rushing weapon alongside starter Marcus Fuller ’15, to a 21-13 victory over Penn. 

Against the Quakers (1-6, 1-3 Ivy), the Bears (4-3, 2-2) controlled every phase of the game and led by two scores for the majority of the second half until a late botched punt allowed Penn to score with 37 seconds left.

With yet another strong win, the Bears have demonstrated just how far they have come from their season-opening loss at Georgetown University. After starting 0-2 both overall and in the Ivy League, Bruno has won four of its past five games and is on a two-game conference winning streak.

Co-captain Dan Giovacchini ’15 said he attributes the team’s recent success to its ability to finally gel as a unit.

“We had 18 new starters on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We knew this was going to be a team that got better week after week.”

On a windy, rainy day at Franklin Field, the Bears were forced to rely on their ground game and defense when the air attack was limited. Both worked to perfection, as Bruno pounded out 262 rushing yards — besting its season high by 125 —, while limiting the Quakers to just 37.

Giovacchini said pressure at the line of scrimmage helped the Bears bottle up Penn’s rushers.

“If you look at who’s pushing whom, it’s usually us pushing the other guys,” he said.

Bruno’s variation in defensive schemes also played a significant role in its success.

“We were able to move our guys around,” Giovacchini said. “That has given offenses trouble.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Rosenbauer was the heart of Bruno’s potent running attack, shredding the Penn defensive line to the tune of 206 yards and two touchdowns. The Quakers were unable to contain the 6’3”, 240-pound human cruise missile at the line of scrimmage, as 12 of his 30 rushes went for nine or more yards. He also recorded his first career reception, taking a screen pass eight yards.

The senior saw sparse playing time in the season’s first two games, gaining 12 yards against Georgetown and not appearing against Harvard. But he toted the rock for 53 yards on just 10 carries in a breakout game against the University of Rhode Island. Rosenbauer’s momentum was stalled when a head injury forced him to the sidelines for the next two games, and he was not needed in a blowout against Cornell.

If he can stay healthy, Rosenbauer will be invaluable to the Bears’ offense for the rest of the season. Though he is listed as one on the roster, calling him a quarterback may no longer be accurate, as he now has as many receptions as pass attempts this year.

True starting quarterback Marcus Fuller ’15 turned in a strong effort, given the conditions. He completed just 14 of 27 passes, but totaled 177 yards for a strong 6.6 yards per attempt. And when he was on, the Bears’ offense clicked: Fuller went 7-for-9 for 130 yards on Bruno’s three touchdown drives, including a 36-yard touchdown strike to Reiley Higgins ’15.

The one area in which Penn found some success was in the passing game, where quarterback Alek Torgersen was 30-for-47, though for just 252 yards. The Quakers made progress moving the ball with screen passes, much like many of Bruno’s previous opponents have. But the Bears did an excellent job of limiting the downfield pass game, as Torgersen only completed one pass for over 20 yards.

With their recent success, the Bears are hitting their stride at the perfect time. Bruno is “a lot more confident,” Giovacchini said, adding that he believes the Bears know the recipe to maintain their winning ways.

“It’s just going to take continued execution from the offense and continued physicality and tackling on defense,” he said.

The Bears will aim to keep rolling Saturday, when they face surprise Ivy title contender Yale at Brown Stadium. The Elis (6-1, 3-1) have garnered impressive results from the 2014 season, marred only by a narrow loss to Dartmouth, but Bruno seems unfazed.

“We can compete with anybody,” Giovacchini said.


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