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Three-touchdown effort from Jette ’17 pushes football past Cornell

In final season, receiver reflects on team goals, individual performance versus Big Red

After the men’s football team took a 14-0 lead nearing the end of the third quarter against Cornell Saturday, the win seemed all but assured. But the Big Red (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) would not go down without a fight. Cornell went on a 14-0 run that sent the game into overtime and then took the lead over the Bears (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) on its ensuing possession.

But veteran widereceiver Alex Jette ’17 did not let Brown’s third Ivy League matchup of the season end in a defeat. Jette had already scored two critical touchdowns on the day: a 79-yard punt return before the half and an 18-yard touchdown reception late in the third. Then, on fourth-and-goal with the game on the line, Jette beat his defender for the wide-open touchdown reception to send the game into double overtime. Brown would go on to take the victory with a game-winning touchdown from running back Johnny Pena ’17.

For his game-saving efforts in overtime and critical role in the team’s overall success Jette has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: What were your thoughts going into the game?

Jette: I don’t like to use the word desperate, but I think that a lot of the guys on the team felt like this was a must win for us, a make-or-break for this season. Princeton beat us up pretty bad, and guys were starting to look around wondering what had gone wrong. Guys were sort of beside themselves as to what happened and worried that we were in some sort of downward spiral. So getting this win, getting the momentum back and playing Brown Bear football was exactly what we needed. I think we have all the intentions to go down to Philly this weekend and take down a really good football team.

How did it feel to have such a big performance in the team’s first Ivy League win of the season?

I think it started with the punt return at the end of the second quarter. That gave us momentum going into halftime. It was a great all-around effort, especially since special teams had kind of been a downfall for us the past year. I think all 11 guys worked their butts off in that punt return. Then, on the fourth down play in overtime, I went to the sideline, and I told coach, “Hey, listen, I want to get the ball here.” I knew I could beat my guy, and I wanted the pressure because you never want the regret. I wanted that play for me. And I think we executed it perfectly. I knew on that field, after all the rain, it would be an advantage for the offense because we know where we’re going. I gave the guy a fake inside and broke it back out, and (quarterback) TJ (Linta ’18) put a perfect touch on the ball. It was a great way to get the game into a second overtime.

Looking forward toward the rest of the season, what are some expectations?

I think the expectations are to take it one week at a time but also to win the rest of these games. If we win out, we will have a winning record. Us seniors don’t want to go out as losers. We have some fight in us, and we need to just show everyone else what this team is about and what this senior class is about.

What do you think the team needs to work on in order to achieve those expectations?

Just capitalizing. Cutting out all the mistakes, the turnovers, the fumbles and the interceptions. We had two turnovers in the Cornell game, and they were costly: They converted on both of those. And then after the interception late in the game, they actually got a field goal opportunity to win it. Fortunately, Jordan Ferguson (’17) blocked it, but still. Once we get in to red zone, we just need to convert.

What are you going to miss the most after completing your senior season?

I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet, but come Columbia, I think it’s going to be a lot of emotion for a lot of guys. It’s going to be the last time a lot of us put the pads on, and that’s really emotional. This sport is a really emotional sport. They don’t say “blood, sweat and tears” for no reason. And a lot of guys have done it for 15 years now. But I have loved every minute of it. Actually, I’ve been one of the few guys who have been fortunate enough to have a lot of NFL scouts come to our practices, so a couple of us will be training after the season, but like I said this is still going to be really emotional.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


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