The football team took the field against Georgetown University Sept. 29, just one day before the one-year anniversary of its last victory. Needless to say, the team was hungry for a win, and Bruno delivered in dominant fashion Saturday, defeating the Hoyas 35-7 at Brown Stadium.
“We won. That’s a great takeaway,” said Head Coach Phil Estes. “We played pretty well in all three phases. We got off to a great start … (and) set the tone.”
From the opening drive, it was evident that this game would be different for the Bears (1-2, 0-1 Ivy). Quarterback Michael McGovern ’21 used his running skills and strong arm to earn timely first downs as the team converted a fourth down as well as a third and 11 to keep the series moving. To cap the drive, McGovern found Jakob Prall ’20 in the back corner of the endzone on a fade pass to give the Bears an early touchdown lead over Georgetown (1-4).
“It’s a fun time. You always have to be ready, especially in college,” McGovern said. “When my number got called I thought I was ready, and I just let my performance do the speaking.”
At the start of Bruno’s next possession, disaster appeared to strike. On the first play, a high snap nearly resulted in a safety and pushed the Bears back to their own one-yard line. Most teams would run the ball to get some room to safely punt, but the Bears put their chips on the table and fired a play-action pass from the endzone to Jaelon Blandburg ’20 for an important 16-yard gain. From that point forward, the gridiron slanted downhill for the Bears as McGovern marched his offense the length of the field. On third and 7 on the Hoyas’ ten-yard line, Prall took a reverse handoff and galloped into the endzone to put Brown firmly in control of the game.
By the end of the first quarter, the Bears had amassed a 14-0 lead, while Georgetown only had possession for about three minutes.
McGovern “has been great,” Estes said. “He’s got a good sense of what is going on around him. He’s made plays with his feet as well as throwing it downfield. We can get better for sure, but he’s been outstanding and seems like he gets better every game.”
The start of the second quarter saw the Bears continue the onslaught as Sebastian Dovi ’19 made a diving interception on the Hoyas’ sideline to end a promising Georgetown drive. As the Hoyas’ defense started to clamp down on Brown’s offense, a muffed punt killed Georgetown’s momentum and gave Bruno the ball on the four-yard line. Two plays later, Prall again had the ball in his hands, running into the endzone for another touchdown.
At half-time, the Bears led 21-0, and had only given up 94 yards and forced three turnovers. McGovern was 16-26 with 163 yards and a touchdown.
But the beginning of the second half saw a reborn Georgetown offense take the field. Hoya quarterback Gunther Johnson used his legs to escape the pocket, and running back Jackson Saffold helped move the ball against the Bruno defense. Joshua Tomas took off for the endzone on a 17-yard sweep to put the Hoyas back in the game.
“There were just a few hiccups in the second half,” Estes said. “They made some adjustments, and the quarterback started to run the ball a little bit.”
But Georgetown’s newfound life did not last for long, as McGovern and the Bears responded forcefully. McGovern narrowly escaped a sack and launched a deep pass to the opposite side of the field to running back Allen Smith ’22. Smith took off toward the endzone, but could not beat the safety and was tackled at the four-yard line. On third and goal, McGovern again escaped the pocket and barely snuck inside the pylon for the touchdown. With the score, the Bears led 28-7.
The rest of the matchup belonged to the invigorated Bears defense, as it halted three Georgetown drives at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth on fourth down.
The Bears got the ball back with about seven minutes left in the game and went on a long, clock-killing drive to effectively end the contest. With 48 seconds to go, Smith punched in a touchdown on a third-down run for the final score, as the Bears took a 35-7 lead.
McGovern finished the game 23-42 with 269 yards, one passing touchdown and another rushing touchdown. The Bears’ offense had no turnovers while the defense recorded three takeaways. Prall ended the contest with one receiving touchdown and two rushing touchdowns, all in the first half.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” McGovern said. “Now our complete focus is on (The University of Rhode Island). We’re going to try to get a win on them and get back into Ivy League play.”
The Bears will take to the road next week to face URI in the Governor’s Cup Saturday at 1 p.m.