Brown 29, Harvard 14

A nocturnal power failure in Providence.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: the Crimson football team, which looked invincible in the season’s opening game, stumbled badly in a 29-14 defeat at Brown Stadium on Saturday night.

Brown dominated from the outset, taking a 23-0 lead in the last minute of the first half and keeping Harvard’s defense on the field for 39 minutes of play. The Crimson’s offensive charade was a nightmare scenario of penalties, fumbles, quarterback sacks, erratic center snaps, dropped passes, and interceptions.

Harvard appeared to have left its rushing attack in Cambridge. The offense couldn’t move the ball on the ground: three running backs combined for a net gain of 12 yards on eight carries. All-Ivy back Gino Gordon ’11 had net yardage of minus-one on five carries.

Brown’s swarming defense put unrelenting pressure on senior quarterback Andrew Hatch, who had made a sparkling debut in a 34-6 rout of Holy Cross the previous Saturday. Hatch completed 11 of 23 passes for 128 yards, but was intercepted twice. Both pickoffs led to Bruin scores.

Lit by temporary floodlights, the contest was the first night game at Brown Stadium. The attendance was 17,360. Last week’s nighttime opener against Holy Cross had drawn 21,704 to Harvard Stadium.

Brown started off with a 69-yard drive that used up more than eight minutes of playing time, but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by kicker Alex Norocea, a poised freshman. Norocea would finish with five field goals, tying a Brown record.

Harvard’s sputtering offense couldn’t answer, and in the second quarter the wheels fell off. Norocea had just hit on another short field goal when Hatch, on Harvard’s first play of the quarter, threw his first interception. A 40-yard runback put Brown on Harvard’s one-yard line, and the Bears punched in a quick touchdown.

Norocea’s third field goal, a 35-yarder, came after a Harvard punt that carried only 17 yards. With all-Ivy quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero calling the signals, Brown then mounted a second touchdown drive that gave the Bruins a 23-0 lead.

When Brown squibbed the ensuing kickoff, Harvard got the ball at midfield with 29 seconds left in the half. Hatch needed only three throws to cover 45 yards, rifling a 21-yard pass to Marco Iannuzzi ’11 in the end zone to put his team on the scoreboard.

Iannuzzi then took the second-half kickoff and ran it back 95 yards for another Crimson touchdown. Scoring 14 points in a span of 36 seconds, Harvard had cut Brown’s lead to 23-14 and seemed to be back in contention. But that was it. On the team’s next possession, Hatch threw his second interception of the game and Brown capitalized with a 44-yard field goal.

An additional Harvard misplay led to another Bruin score. An errant snap sailed over the head of punter Jacob Dombrowski ’13, and Brown took over at the Crimson 22-yard line. Four plays later Norocea converted a 35-yard field goal to complete the scoring at 29-14.

“There’s no excuse for not playing well,” head coach Tim Murphy said afterward. “Even if we’d played well, we would have had a terrific and energized opponent on our hands, and it would have been a lot better football game. We need to play tougher as a team.”

Harvard meets Lafayette (0-3, 0-1 Patriot League) at Easton, Pennsylvania, at noon on Saturday. The Leopards bested the Crimson, 35-18, at the Stadium last year.

 

In other weekend games: Princeton outscored Lafayette, 36-33. Yale defeated Cornell, 21-7. Columbia beat Towson, 24-10. Dartmouth edged Sacred Heart, 21-19. Penn lost to Villanova, 22-10. Harvard’s opening-game opponent, Holy Cross, lost to Georgetown, 17-7.

 

The score by quarters:

Harvard   0   7   7    0  —  14
Brown      3  20  6   0  —  29

 Attendance: 17,360.

 

THE SEASON SO FAR

Harvard 34, Holy Cross 6
Brown 29, Harvard 14

 

Read more articles by: Cleat

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