The Brown football team (2-6, 1-4 Ivy) came up short in a 63-38 shootout loss to Yale (5-3, 4-1 Ivy) at Brown Stadium Saturday. Despite the loss, the Bears’ offense continued to produce against high-caliber defensive opponents, scoring the most points against the Bulldogs in a game by any opponent this year.
Quarterback EJ Perry ’22 and running back Allen Smith ’22 led the offense against Yale. Perry contributed over 300 yards of offense, a feat he has accomplished in every game this season. Smith racked up 87 rushing yards and 45 receiving yards for a season-high 132 total yards of offense. Wide receiver Wes Rockett ’23 caught three touchdowns, giving him eight receiving touchdowns for the season, the most in the Ivy League.
Brown ended the first half trailing by just seven points before Yale pulled away to secure the victory. “I think we threw some punches at them in the first half, and they handled it like the championship team that we’re aspiring to be,” said Head Coach James Perry ’00. “Our guys played and fought hard. I’m proud of them for that.”
Yale jumped out to an early lead by forcing a three-and-out on Brown’s first drive and scoring a touchdown in just two plays on the following possession. After giving up the early touchdown, Brown took back the momentum with two touchdown catches from Rockett to take a 14-7 lead.
Rockett credited play calling for his scoring success throughout the season. “It’s just (Coach Perry) putting us in good positions,” Rockett said. “We could put (any receiver) out there for me, and I think they come away with three to four touchdowns. That just shows a lot about our depth in the receiver room — no matter who you put out there, we’re gonna make plays.”
After Yale tied the game with a touchdown, the Bears appeared poised to take back possession when the defense stripped the ball from Yale quarterback Nolan Grooms to force a fumble. In a stroke of luck for the Bulldogs, the ball bounced into the waiting hands of a wide receiver who took it to the endzone for a go-ahead touchdown.
To respond, Coach Perry drew up a trick play that saw EJ Perry line up next to the sideline at wide receiver. Smith took the snap and shoveled the ball to backup quarterback Michael McGovern ’22, who delivered a perfect pass to EJ Perry downfield. EJ Perry, who made his defender fall on the route, had an open lane to the end zone and scored the first receiving touchdown of his career to tie the game at 21-21.
“It’s fun for me to coach him,” Coach Perry said of EJ Perry. “As great a player as he is — and it’s extraordinary what he does on the field — he’ll be ready to work tomorrow … that’s a heck of a worker.”
Yale added an offensive touchdown and a pick-six on a deflected pass to take a 14-point lead in the second quarter. Brown responded with a rushing touchdown from Smith, narrowing its deficit to 35-28 going into halftime.
“We’re playing a really good D-line on defense,” Coach Perry said. “The guys up front fought and battled. And then Allen’s yards after contact today are going to be exceptional. Whatever yards he was gaining, they were very hard earned. Credit to Yale and credit to Allen. He’s a captain and he plays like a captain.”
Yale’s offense produced a slew of touchdowns in the second half, pushing its lead out of Brown’s reach. The Brown offense continued to produce, but a few key calls — including on a would-be touchdown by wide receiver Graham Walker ’24 that was called out of bounds — kept the Bears from narrowing the deficit. “That’s just the ebbs and flows of football,” Rockett said. “It’s about how you respond, how you get back in the game and play the next down and finish that drive off.”
Yale capped off their offensive showcase with a final touchdown in the fourth quarter, taking the 63-38 victory and improving to 5-3 on the season.
Brown already faced off against the Bulldogs earlier this year in a scrimmage over the summer, which Yale won in a blowout. According to Smith, the Bears’ improvement since that matchup was on display in Saturday’s game. “We were much more physical (today),” Smith said. “We’ve been building for the last eight weeks, so I think we were a lot better. We saw eight weeks of improvement, but there’s still a lot of stuff we got to work on.”
Coach Perry said that the Bears’ energy had also improved between the two matchups. “Early in the season, as hard as we practiced, we weren’t always as enthusiastic as I’d like to (be) on the sidelines,” Coach Perry said. “That was not true today. Today, we matched their enthusiasm. We were playing extremely hard and extremely well for a huge period of that game.”
Brown will face off against Columbia on the road next Saturday in its penultimate conference game of the season. “It’s a hard sport, so this week we’re gonna get healthy,” Smith said. “We’re gonna make the corrections and then come out on Tuesday and practice real hard.”
Correction: A previous version of this article's sumdeck implied that Allen Smith racked up 145 offensive yards in total for this game. In fact, he racked up 132 yards. The Herald regrets the error.