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Football falls to Holy Cross at home

Bears struggle to defend against COHC Crusaders Saturday, fall 47-31

While the football team’s offense continued to thrive this weekend, a poor defensive showing doomed the Bears against the College of the Holy Cross Saturday, as they lost 47-31.

The Bears put up 346 yards on the Crusaders, led by 97 receiving yards and two touchdowns from Scott Boylan ’21 in the final game of their non-conference slate.

After a breakout game against the University of Rhode Island in which EJ Perry ’21 posted over 500 total yards, expectations were high for the transfer quarterback going into the game against Holy Cross (3-3, 1-0 Patriot League). But Perry and the Bears (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) got off to a shaky start, as the junior threw a pick on his second pass of the game. The Crusaders capitalized on their great field position, picking up a fourth-down conversion before running back Domenic Cozier broke free of Bruno’s defense for a 21-yard rushing touchdown.

“We started very poorly offensively, and I didn’t feel like we were as energetic (of) a bunch of kids as I’m used to,” said Head Coach James Perry ’00.

Brown responded on its next possession, as a Holy Cross pass interference penalty moved the Bears down the field. A 25-yard scramble by EJ Perry put Bruno at the Crusaders’ one-yard line, and running back Allen Smith ’22 punched it in for the score. After holding Holy Cross to a field goal, Brown was poised to take the lead, but another interception gave the ball right back to the Crusaders.

“I thought in the beginning of the game I made some bad decisions, and left opportunities on the field throughout,” EJ Perry said.

Another red zone stop for Bruno forced a second field goal from Holy Cross. The Bears went three and out on the ensuing possession, but then a special teams gaffe by the Crusaders gifted Brown the lead. The Holy Cross returner muffed Brown’s punt, and Bruno special teamer Cooper DeVeau ’23 recovered the fumble. Three plays later, running back Andrew Bolton ’20 scored Brown’s second short touchdown run to give Bruno a 14-13 advantage in the second quarter.

Unfortunately for the Bears, that was the last lead they held Saturday. On the next drive, Holy Cross’ Ayir Asante caught a short slant and sprinted past the entire Brown secondary, taking the pass 69 yards to the house. Just minutes later, Asante struck again,  when he got wide open in the Brown end zone and hauled in a 5-yard score. Bruno added a field goal as time expired in the first half, but still faced a 27-17 deficit going into the locker room.

On the first possession of the second half, the Crusaders began to pull away from the Bears, as quarterback Connor Degenhardt threw his third touchdown pass of the game. Perry drew the Bears back within 10 on a nine-yard scoring connection with Boylan, and Brown had an opportunity to cut Holy Cross’ lead to one score. But a Dawson Goepferich ’20 field goal attempt was blocked by the Crusaders’ Kevin Bucceroni. The Crusaders re-established control soon after with a rushing touchdown by Peter Oliver to put the Bears down by 17 points.

Bruno’s final highlight of the game came when Boylan blew past the Holy Cross secondary and caught a deep ball from Perry for a 57-yard score. “You always look for big plays to lift your spirits after a game like this,” Boylan said.

But once again, Brown’s defense could not hold the Crusaders, as Degenhardt tossed his fourth touchdown on a 72-yard bomb to wideout Spencer Gilliam. The catch extended Holy Cross’ lead to 47-31, where it would remain for the rest of the game. EJ Perry threw his third pick on a desperation fourth-down heave, and the Crusaders were able to wind down the clock to seal the victory.

“We’ll learn from (this game),” Coach Perry said. “We’ll learn from the film and get better.”

The Bears will return to action against Princeton, where Coach Perry formerly served as the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, in their Ivy League home opener Saturday. Princeton will present a tough challenge for Brown, as the Tigers are 4-0 and have defeated each of their opponents by at least 11 points.


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