On Friday night, Brown came charging out of the locker room and scored a touchdown 34 seconds into the game against Harvard. But Bruno ultimately suffered a familiar fate, falling to Harvard for the ninth consecutive time by a 42-7 margin.
Quarterback EJ Perry ’21, playing his first Ivy League contest, did his best to breathe life into the Bears (1-1, 0-1 Ivy) and finished the game 17-27 with 162 passing yards, no touchdowns and no picks.
EJ Perry had “a lot of people running at him,” said Head Coach James Perry ’00. “We’ll get better there. This group of guys has really worked hard and I can’t express that enough. Leading up to this game they practiced very well, and for huge chunks of the game, they played very well.”
The first period opened with the Bears playing the strongest that they would all night. Running back Allen Smith ’22 rushed for 75 yards in Bruno’s first drive of the quarter, capping it off with a 22-yard touchdown gallop to claim Brown’s only lead of the game. But for a short time, the Bears clung to the lead, with the defense running down the Crimson (1-1, 1-0) until the final minutes of the quarter. In the second to last drive of the period, Harvard scored its first touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Jake Smith to wideout Cody Chrest to close the stanza tied at seven.
“As a defense, we continued to play hard and compete,” said Elijah Pierre ’20, who recorded three tackles in the game. “We’ll need to clean up a lot of our mistakes in preparation for next week.”
The second quarter was all Harvard, with Smith netting two of his four touchdown passes of the game. The defense did all they could to stop the bleeding, but it was not enough. Harvard posted their first touchdown of the quarter with a 13-yard pass, following up just over five minutes later with a 34-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Jack Cook with five seconds remaining in the half.
“There was one play at the end of that second quarter where … the game started to get away from us,” Pierre said. “We’re going to make sure that next week we’re better prepared.”
Coming out of halftime, Harvard continued to dominate, with Smith launching his third touchdown pass to extend the team’s lead to 28-7. Brown was unable to answer the Crimson’s scoring barrage as the rest of the quarter passed scoreless.
“Expectation is the same every week, to go out there and execute the offense as best we can,” EJ Perry said. “That’s the same mentality for every position on the field, offense and defense. Throughout the game, we’re all thinking the same thing, but we can’t change what happened.”
As the game entered its final quarter, Harvard looked to shut the door on the Bears. The Crimson scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the fourth, pushing victory seven points further from Bruno’s grasp.
“We did not run the ball well,” said James Perry. “We always love running the ball, but especially as drives wear on, … we’d like to run the ball better.”
As the game wound down, Harvard notched yet another touchdown to bring the score to 42-7, the game’s final tally.
“We had a lot of explosive plays by EJ Perry and our receivers,” Pierre said. “We just have to make sure we capitalize on those plays to make more happen next week. Brown will be back and better next weekend.”
When the final whistle blew, the Crimson had outgained the Bears in total yardage 521-267. The loss against Harvard marks the 16th straight Ivy League defeat for Bruno, extending a streak that spans back to the end of the 2016 season.
The Bears will return to the field next weekend at Brown Stadium against Ocean State rival University of Rhode Island for the Bears’ alumni day and the Governor’s Cup.