Brown and the University of Rhode Island have met on the gridiron 103 times since 1909, but the Ocean State rivalry has never been so one-sided. Though the Bears have traditionally dominated the series against the Rams, Bruno was defeated 48-0 on the road Saturday in a game that marks Brown’s largest recorded loss to URI.
“We have to understand that URI (4-1) is a very good, ranked … team who is polished and outplayed us for 60 minutes,” wrote tight end Anton Casey ’19 in a statement to The Herald. “The biggest issue today was the overconfidence that came after the (win against Georgetown) and taking Rhode Island lightly.”
The Bears (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) started the contest looking like the team that had defeated Georgetown the weekend prior, as its defense was able to stall a promising Rams drive and hold URI to just a first quarter field goal. Later in the quarter, URI drove to the outskirts of the red zone, and Brown pounced on a fumble by Rams quarterback Vito Priore to gain possession and attempt to shift momentum.
But Brown’s offense was stuck in neutral all day. Quarterback Michael McGovern ’21 faced consistent pressure and was sacked seven times as the Bears could neither sustain a drive nor exploit promising opportunities.
“Offensively we missed too many assignments throughout the entire game,” wrote running back Darius Daies ’21 in a statement to The Herald. “When one of us isn’t doing our job, it trickles throughout the entire squad and makes it hard to get things going.”
In the second quarter, the Rams caught fire, outscoring Bruno 24-0. The deluge started just a minute into the period, when Priore found wide receiver Aaron Parker in the back right corner of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass. On the Rams’ next drive, Priore fired a 38-yard strike to put URI in scoring position and then followed up with a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Coulter.
“Football is a team game,” wrote defensive captain Michael Hoecht ’19 in a statement to The Herald. “As a defensive unit we have to defend the pass better, both from the defensive line rushing the pass and defensive backs covering their receivers.”
Down 17-0 with five minutes left in the half, the Bears were in desperate need of a game-changing play. URI faced a 4th and 5 at Brown’s 35-yard line but converted on a 33-yard pass to Parker in a drive that would end in a Rams field goal.
On the next drive, the Bears managed to move the ball past midfield thanks to a face mask penalty on running back Allen Smith ’22, but they missed a 48-yard field goal and gave the Rams good field position with under two minutes left in the half.
Two plays later, Rams receiver Marven Beauvais caught a deep pass, spun away from the Brown defensive back and waltzed into the end zone to put the Bears in a 27-point halftime hole.
In the second half, the Bears came out of the locker room deflated, giving up two touchdowns and throwing an interception in just the first six minutes of the third quarter. In the fourth, URI added to its lead with a 25-yard touchdown pass to receiver Khayri Denny for the final score of the game.
“Today, offense didn’t execute particularly well, as the score indicated, but I think one thing we could have done better is establishing a run game early on so that teams can’t key in our pass offense as much,” Casey wrote. “The first thing we need to adjust is execution on offense (both run and pass) as well as preparing better for our opponent.”
When the final whistle sounded, the Bears were outgained on offense by a margin of 580-127 yards. URI recorded 26 first downs compared to just eight from Brown. McGovern was 11-27 with 101 yards and a pick, and Chima Amushie ’21 led all receivers with 23 yards, followed by Jaelon Blandburg ’20 who posted 21 yards.
“We’re approaching Ivy League play as a new season,” Daies wrote. “It’s a chance to forget about all the good and bad from prior weeks and make a name for ourselves.”
The Bears will begin its slate of Ivy League contests this week as the team travels to play Princeton Saturday at 1 p.m.