In his first ever game in a Brown uniform, EJ Perry ’21 scored five total touchdowns to lead the football team to victory over Bryant University Saturday. Perry was dynamic in leading the Bears’ offense to a 35-point outburst, racking up 183 passing yards and three scores through the air as well as 227 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Perry, a transfer from nearby Boston College and the nephew of new Head Coach James Perry ’00, immediately provided a spark to the Brown football program.
Bruno stumbled to a 1-9 record last season, but thanks to Perry’s breakout game as well as some clutch defensive plays, the Bears are off to a 1-0 start. Perry provided the highlight of the game for Brown with a 94-yard touchdown run, which gave Bruno an 11-point fourth quarter lead and proved to be the deciding score. It was the second-longest touchdown run in Brown history. For that explosive play and an all-around winning performance, Perry has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: How did you produce offensively throughout the game?
Perry: We did a good job as a team executing what our coaches have been preaching all summer and during camp, which has been playing fast and playing to our rules. We try to play a simple brand of football that allows us to play fast, and it worked really well on Saturday. We executed well, and we’re hoping to do that again this week.
Guide our readers through your 94-yard rushing touchdown this weekend.
It was a zone read play, reading the backside end. (The end) crashed, I pulled and (Toby Okwara ’20) and the rest of the line did a good job filling their blocking assignments and kicking out the linebackers. It kind of just opened up from there, and I was able to run for a touchdown.
With a new coach and new starting QB, how important was it for your team to start off on the right foot this season?
In any season you want to start off with a win. That’s priority number one — win the opener to get the season going. Anytime you can win a game it’s a great feeling in football because you get so few opportunities, and they’re all very hard to win.
What has the transition to Brown been like after two years at Boston College?
It’s been good. Brown has been very open and accepting and helpful, making the transition easy. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. It’s been about a month or so now, … (and) people have been really helpful in making that transition smooth.
What is it like having your uncle as your head coach?
It’s a very professional relationship. His coaching resume holds up with the best of them and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the quarterback position. It’s been a pleasure to learn from him and get as much knowledge as I can and take what I can onto the field and execute it.
Given Brown’s recent struggles in conference play, what would an Ivy League win mean to you and the rest of the team?
Similar to the opening win, every win in your season is very valuable. You prepare so hard and so long, and you have a month-long training camp before you get to play a game, and then you wait six days in between every game. So, every win is very valuable. Every week you want to go in and execute to the best of your ability to give you a chance to win. Our mind is set on this Friday (against Harvard), and playing to the best of our ability, and every week it’s the same mentality.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.