Newcomer Jeffrey “Mitchell” Jonke ’21 became Brown’s third quarterback to see time in the pocket this season as the football team fell to Stetson University 17-13 Saturday. The Bears (2-2, 0-1 Ivy) traveled over 1,200 miles to DeLand, Florida to wrap up nonconference play against the Hatters (1-5) as the teams faced off for the second consecutive year. A late comeback effort led by Jonke and rookie running back Darius Daies ’21 was cut short as the Bears missed an extra point attempt and fumbled on their final offensive possession.
“(The loss) was disappointing because that was a team that we could have beaten, and it would have been nice to have some momentum going into Ivy League play,” Jonke said. “But I’m confident in our team and how we’re responding to it.”
Quarterback Thomas “TJ” Linta ’18 secured the start for the Bears coming off his performance last week against the University of Rhode Island. The veteran was in for three quarters, totalling 143 passing yards and a touchdown on 14 completions.
The game remained scoreless for much of the first quarter as missed field goals terminated both teams’ opening drives. The Hatters went up by three with 28 seconds left in the quarter after intercepting a pass by Linta. But Linta shook off the turnover and hit Jaelon Blandburg ’20 for a 40-yard reception on the first play of Bruno’s next offensive possession.
Then a 19-yard reception by Anton Casey ’19 and rushes by David Moodie ’19 and Daies inched the Bears to the Stetson six where Linta connected with Demitri Jackson ’20 on a slant in the endzone, putting Brown up 7-3 early in the second quarter.
After two punts from each team, Stetson returned to the endzone to retake the lead late in the half. Bruno got the final possession but failed to generate much on offense before the clock expired, giving the Hatters a 10-7 edge going into the locker room.
“We knew that you’re not losing a game just because you’re behind at the half,” Daies said. “We just said that we had to play better in the second half.”
The momentum appeared to swing in Bruno’s favor at the start of the third quarter as co-captain Richard “Dewey” Jarvis ’17.5 forced a fumble on the Hatters’ opening drive, but Stetson was able to reclaim possession four plays later when Linta threw his second interception of the game. The pick resulted in Stetson’s second touchdown, solidifying the 17 points it would cling to for victory.
Jonke got his first collegiate touch late in the third quarter and managed to give Bruno six more points with 8:55 left in the game. A 25-yard reception by Daies put the Bears in the red zone, and a 12-yard run on the next play gave the freshman his third collegiate TD. The field goal after sailed wide left, spelling the end of Brown’s comeback and settling the final score at 17-13.
“It was disappointing, but it’s nice to get that out of the way before we step into the Ivy League completely,” Daies said. “Everything gets way more intense now that we’re all in the Ivy. We know the Ivy League is wide open right now because a lot of teams are winning, and a lot of teams are losing. … Our eyes are still wide open for finishing as high as we can.”
Bruno is 2-1 against nonconference opponents but will turn its attention to league matchups for the remainder of the season, looking first to Princeton Saturday. The Bears will host the Tigers (3-1, 0-1) at Brown Stadium for Homecoming. The kick-off is set for 12:30 p.m.