In a turnover-filled contest at Brown Stadium on Saturday, the football team (4-4, 2-3 Ivy League) fell 36-17 to Yale (5-3, 3-2).
“I think in two phases of the game — offense and special teams — we can play a lot better,” Head Coach James Perry ’00 said. “So I was dissatisfied with that. And good teams make you pay.”
“We were just on the short end of the stick a couple of times, but we played hard the whole game,” backup quarterback Nate Lussier ’24 said.
The Bears held a 10-6 lead over the Bulldogs after the first quarter, with kicker Christopher Maron ’25 hitting a 22-yard field goal and receiver Wes Rockett ’23.5 executing a flawless reverse to sneak into the endzone for a touchdown.
Thanks to strong play from Yale quarterback Nolan Grooms, who finished the day with 220 passing yards and 112 rushing yards, the Bulldogs took a 16-10 lead entering halftime and made the score 22-10 early in the third quarter on their third touchdown of the day.
With the Bulldogs threatening to make it a three-possession game at the start of another drive, Bears cornerback Isaiah Reed ’25 snagged a pass from Grooms and took the football all the way to the endzone for an electrifying pick-six. Last week in a thrilling victory against Penn, Reed racked up a pair of interceptions, giving him three in his last two games. He now leads the Ivy League with four interceptions this season.
“We game-planned for that play, and when I saw it I just reacted,” Reed said. “My teammates made the right decisions and Coach made a great call.”
“That was a huge play for us,” said Lussier, who passed for 21 yards in the game. “We all believe (Isaiah’s) the best in the league, so we trust him to do stuff like that.”
Momentum appeared to be swinging in Bruno’s favor, but the Bulldogs soon quieted the crowd with two touchdowns in a one-minute span thanks to a blocked punt. After a scoreless fourth quarter, the Bears’ time to mount a comeback had run out.
The Bears’ defense put up a strong effort, with linebacker and co-captain Ethan Royer ’23.5 racking up a career-high ten tackles.
Offensively, Bruno collected 334 total yards, their second-lowest total of the season.
“There were some moments where (if) we could get something going offensively, it would have been very interesting,” Perry said, “but we just had trouble actually getting any movement with the ball, and when we did they buckled down really well.”
Yale’s defense was effective all day, playing aggressively and applying pressure on Bears quarterback Jake Willcox ’24.
“Anybody who's gonna try to move the ball on them is gonna have to throw the ball better than we did today because they’re very, very strong,” Perry added. “I think moving forward, I'm sure when we look at the film we’ll see some things schematically we could have done, some plays we could have called differently — but just on the field you could feel the force of the way their (defensive) line was playing.”
The result of both sides’ strong defense was a slew of turnovers. Yale picked up two interceptions and forced two fumbles, while the Bears’ defense grabbed three interceptions. Following another three-pick effort against Penn last week, Brown has now recorded three interceptions in consecutive games for the first time since 2011.
While the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of the Bears’ mistakes throughout the game, Bruno struggled to capitalize on critical opportunities.
“Generally speaking, those turnovers, we need those to turn to points, but that’s easier said than done,” Perry said.
“We had a few mistakes — obviously a couple of fumbles we wish we could take back,” said tight end Dillon Golden ’26. “But we'll look back at it, practice harder and we'll be ready for next weekend.”
The Bears will travel to New York to face a struggling Columbia team on Saturday before finishing their season at home against Dartmouth on Nov. 18. With a 2-3 conference record, Brown is now tied with Cornell for sixth place in the Ivy League standings.
“We're excited to go (to New York), hope to get a win and then come back home (and) finish off the season on Senior Day,” said Lussier.
Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.