November 8, 2003

Brown Knocks Off Yale, 55-44

Nov. 8, 2003

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Brown and Yale combined for 99 points, including 40 in the fourth quarter, as the Bears won a wild one 55-44 at the Yale Bowl. The Bulldogs rallied to take the lead or tie five different times in the back-and-forth game before Brown finally clinched the victory with a touchdown pass with 26 seconds to play and an interception return for a touchdown with nine seconds left.

Brown scored on its first drive of the day, driving 53 yards for a one-yard touchdown run by Nick Hartigan. Yale responded with a 66-yard drive that featured a key 16-yard third-down conversion pass from Alvin Cowan to tight end Nate Lawrie on third-and-seven. Robert Carr added a 28-yard run, and Cowan capped the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ron Benigno.

Brown went back ahead on its next drive with a nine-yard pass from Kyle Slager to Lonnie Hill. The Bulldogs responded again thanks to two big plays. The first was a 27-yard pass from Cowan to Benigno that got Yale from its own 32 to the Brown 41. After Carr tacked on a ten-yard run, Cowan took off up the middle of the field and had one man to beat. He did so with a nifty move, then outraced several defenders closing in from behind to dive into the endzone.

The field position edge then turned in Yale's favor when Ryan Allen boomed a kickoff into the endzone for a touchback. Brown got just five yards before punting, and punter Timothy Goobic rushed to get off a 16-yard punt after struggling to handle a low snap. The Bulldogs then drove 36 yards for a 22-yard field goal by John Troost for their first lead of the day, 17-14.

The Elis failed to take advantage of another special teams play when Brown's Tristan Murray fumbled a punt at his own 27 and Alex Faherty recovered. Yale got down to the 15, but Cowan fumbled while being sacked. The Bulldogs recovered all the way back at the 33. With a strong wind at his back, Troost tried a 50-yard field goal but came up short.

A busy final two minutes at the end of the first half saw possession change hands twice on punts, and Brown engineered an 80-yard drive with 1:02 left. Hill caught two long passes - a 33-yarder, and a 27-yarder for a touchdown with five seconds left to give Brown the lead at halftime.

Brown increased its lead on the first drive of the second half, taking the ball 70 yards and finishing with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Slager to Jarrett Schreck. The Elis responded to that play immediately, as Cowan's first pass was a 42-yarder to Ralph Plumb to get the ball to the Brown 22. After a short run by Carr, Cowan hit Nate Lawrie over the middle from 20 yards out and he rumbled in for a score.

Yale reclaimed the lead thanks to a big play from the defense. On third-and-five from the 33, Slager was under heavy pressure from the defensive line when he fired one down the field right to Yale's Fred Jelks. Jelks returned the ball to the 14, where the offense took over. Carr converted a fourth-and-one at the Brown five with a two-yard rush, then took the ball in from three yards out for a 31-28 lead.

The game went back-and-forth once again as the fourth quarter began. Brown tallied on a 13-yard pass from Slager to Hill, but Yale struck back on its second play from scrimmage after that. From the Eli 32, Cowan faked a draw, then pulled back and found a wide-open Plumb down the middle of the field. Plumb took off untouched for a 68-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs missed the extra point, but still led 37-34.

Brown went back ahead with 5:22 to play on a 10-yard touchdown run by Hartigan, but Yale once again had a response. Starting at their own 18, the Bulldogs got two 19-yard runs by Carr to help get the ball to the Brown four for a third-and-goal. Cowan then raced in from there with 1:38 to play, but that was more than enough time for Brown's offense to operate. Starting from their own 36, the Bears converted a fourth-and-10 at their own 36 with a 22-yard pass to Hartigan, and followed that up with a 25-yard pass to David Turner to get to the Yale 17. Slager then tossed one up to Hill in the endzone, and the sophomore grabbed it away from a Yale defender to come down with the deciding score with just 26 seconds left. Yale got the ball back at its own 29, but James Gasparella picked off a Cowan pass at the Eli 32 and returned it for a touchdown with just nine seconds left.

Yale falls to 3-2 in the Ivy League and 5-3 overall, while Brown improves to 2-3 and 3-5. The Bulldogs return to action next Saturday at Princeton at 1:00.

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