Nov. 5, 2005
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - With a playoff-like atmosphere and 21,719 fans at the Yale Bowl, the Brown Bears emerged with a 38-21 win over the Elis that knocked Yale out of a four-way tie for first in the Ivy League. Brown TB Nick Hartigan ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns, adding another touchdown receiving, to pace the Bears attack. His running was a major reason why Brown had a 10-minute edge in time of possession, including two drives at the end of the game that ate up over 15 minutes. Brown and Princeton now lead the league with 4-1 records, while Yale, Penn and Harvard sit at 3-2.
"I don't think I've ever seen a game with so few possessions," said Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. "We only had the ball nine times."
The Bulldogs drove to the Bear 27 on the opening drive, but a field goal attempt from there was blocked by LB Zak DeOssie and Yale had to cover it up at the Brown 46. Three plays later the Bears were in the end zone thanks to a 34-yard run from Hartigan.
DeOssie was shaken up on the next Yale series, and the Bulldogs took advantage of it later in the quarter. With the Bears' top run stopper on the sideline, The Elis drove from their own 22 to the Brown 35 on the strength of 29 yards on the ground from TB Mike McLeod, including a crucial third-and-two conversion from the Eli 48. QB Jeff Mroz (25 of 37, 291 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception) also had a key third-down conversion pass to WR Chris Denny-Brown, then came up with another big play at the Bear 35. WR Ashley Wright got behind his man and Mroz dropped the ball into his hands just before the safety got over to help, leading Wright into the end zone. Alan Kimball's extra point tied the game.
The Bears got another touchdown from Hartigan, this one on a four-yard pass from QB Joe DiGiacomo, early in the second to re-take the lead. By Yale's fourth drive of the game DeOssie could be seen getting crutches on the Brown sideline for an apparent knee injury. On Yale's fifth drive the Bulldogs nearly encountered some injury problems of their own. On the second play, WR Todd Feiereisen was hit hard by DB Jamie Gasparella and was on the ground for several moments before limping off. But the Bulldogs converted a third down with a seven-yard pass to Wright, and two plays later Feiereisen was back in the game. He then caught a 22-yard pass on third down to get Yale to the Brown 26. After a one-yard run, Mroz and Wright connected again. This time Mroz' heave required Wright to out-leap a Bear defender at the goal-line for a spectacular grab. Kimball's extra point tied the score again.
The Bears recovered a squib kick that unintentionally went right into a Bear player at the Eli 46 with 2:04 left in the half.
"Our guy jumped to try to avoid it," said Brown head coach Phil Estes. "Thank goodness it just fell right back at his feet. We took advantage of it."
Five plays later, DiGiacomo threw one to WR Jarrett Schreck on the left sideline, and he shook off one defender and dashed into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. Brown entered halftime leading 21-14.
The Bears ran a fake reverse on the opening drive of the third quarter that netted Hartigan a 30-yard touchdown run and increased the lead to 14. They got another touchdown from Hartigan, a nine-yarder on a toss, with 6:11 left in the third quarter, but this one the Bulldogs responded to immediately. Starting from their own 17, the Elis got a seven-yard run from TB Jordan Spence followed by a 15-yard pass to WR D.J. Shooter and a 10-yard pass to Feiereisen. That brought the ball out to the 49, where Spence burst through the line, broke several tackles, and then scooted into the end zone to energize the home crowd and bring Yale within two touchdowns. It was the junior's first career touchdown run, on his 91st career carry.
The game still looked like it could be a back-and-forth battle at that point, but the Bears re-established control with a punishing 13-yard, 63-yard drive from the end of the third quarter into the fourth that consumed 7:08 and featured seven Hartigan runs. It ended with only a 27-yard field goal by Steve Morgan, but left Yale facing a 17-point deficit with just 11:50 to play.
The Elis seemed ready to rally as they drove from their own 13 to the Brown 17, converting a crucial fourth down on a fake punt with Wright running for 11 yards. But when Wright and Gasparella both went up for a Mroz pass in the end zone, Gasparella came down with it.
The Bears then took the 8:33 remaining off the clock, converting one third down on a Yale penalty and another with a six-yard pass to FB Carson Brennan. Appropriately, Hartigan converted the next one on a third-and-one by keeping his legs churning long enough to push the Yale defense back a yard. He also converted a fourth-and-one at the Eli 36 that officially enabled Brown to run the clock out.
"The second half we just didn't have the football," Siedlecki said. "Their last two drives consumed a whole quarter."
The Bulldogs travel to Princeton for a 1:00 p.m. start against the Tigers next Saturday.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity