Last month, Ben Rosenblatt ’17.5 heard the Brown football team was having trouble with its field goal kicking. A former kicker at Trinity College, Rosenblatt contacted Head Coach Phil Estes P’18 about a mid-season tryout.
Saturday, Rosenblatt booted a 52-yard field goal as the first half expired in his second game in a Brown uniform. The kick, the second-longest in program history, proved to be the difference for the Bears (4-5, 3-3 Ivy) in a 24-21 road win over Dartmouth (4-5, 1-5). The win is the Bears’ third in four games and puts the team in position to finish fourth in the Ivy League standings and avoid its first losing season since 2006.
Rosenblatt’s kick gave Bruno a 24-7 lead, punctuating a solid first half in which almost everything went Brown’s way. But the tables turned after the half, as Jack Heneghan led Dartmouth on two fourth-quarter scoring drives of more than 80 yards to cut Brown’s lead to three.
Heneghan had his way with Brown’s defense, completing 37 of 54 attempts for 440 yards. In total, Dartmouth amassed a jaw-dropping 615 total yards of offense on the day.
But five turnovers, including three Heneghan interceptions allowed Brown to keep the Big Green off the scoreboard on several possessions that looked destined for the end zone.
After taking the Big Green 85 yards in nine plays, Heneghan scored on a 7-yard run with 1:47 left. But Dartmouth failed to execute an onside kick, ceding the ball to the Brown offense, which ran out most of the remaining time to secure the victory.
Quarterback TJ Linta ’18 built Brown’s lead in the first half with a pair of touchdown throws to Troy Doles ’16.5 on back-to-back possessions. Linta finished 17-of-27 passing for 220 yards and one interception.
Linta credited his deep receiving corps for his continued success after taking over the starting job mid-season. “What’s a defense to do against all those guys?” he said.
Doles has dealt with a nagging hamstring injury this season after being named second team All-Ivy in his junior year. Showing no sign of injury, Doles found himself behind the Dartmouth secondary on both touchdown catches, finding the end zone untouched. He finished with 103 yards receiving on four catches.
“He’s a great player,” Linta said. “He gives us another down-the-field threat.”
Fellow wideouts Alex Jette ’17 and Garrett Swanky ’17 both also finished with four catches on the day.
Johnny Pena ’17 ran for 83 yards on 20 carries and Brown’s first touchdown of the day. Linta drove the Bears 61 yards to set up the 1-yard score after Grant Varner ’19 blocked a field goal attempt on Dartmouth’s first possession.
Linta was intercepted once and Brown lost one fumble. But mistakes forced by Brown’s defense mitigated the high yardage totals racked up by Dartmouth’s offense. Will Twyman ’16.5, Terrell Smith ’18 and John Simpson ’17 all came up with interceptions, and two Dartmouth fumbles ended up in Brown control.
“Turnover margin, most of the time, tells who will win the game,” Linta said “Our defense has been amazing this year forcing turnovers.”
Twyman and Max Tylki ’17 led the way with 12 tackles each.
The kicking game is also a newfound strength for the team with the addition of Rosenblatt, who is now 3-for-3 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points in two games. Punter Ryan Kopec ’19 helped Brown control field position by pinning Dartmouth inside the 20-yard line five times — a career high.
The impact of the special teams play on Saturday’s win was huge, Linta said.
Brown will look to honor its 23 seniors with a win at home Saturday against Columbia in its final game, which guarantees Brown a fourth-place finish in league standings.
“It’s their day,” Linta said of the seniors. “We have to win for them. They’ve put in four years of hard work, and they deserve it.”