Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer Adam Berry caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown against Brown.
The Princeton football team played with fire a second straight week, and it left burned once again. Following a six-turnover loss to Hampton last week, the Tigers turned the ball over six more times in a 33-24 loss to Brown Saturday at Brown Stadium. Both Princeton and Brown are now 1-1 in league play, one game behind co-leaders Harvard and Yale.
“I give credit to Brown and their players today,” head coach Roger Hughes said. “I thought they played with more emotion than we played with, more passion than we played with. Obviously it gets down to turnovers as a major reason we’ve been losing games this year.”
Princeton gained 430 total offensive yards, including 309 in the air. Senior quarterback Bill Foran, who also led the team in rushing with 77 yards, threw for a team-best 185 yards and accounted for all three of Princeton’s touchdowns. He had scoring strikes of 48 and 39 yards, and he added a 64-yard touchdown run that ignited a near-dramatic Tiger comeback.
Rob Toresco rushed 11 times for 33 yards and caught eight passes for 56 yards, while Berry had five catches for 93 yards, including the 48-yard score. Greg Mroz completed 12 of 24 passes for 124 yards. Despite the yards, Princeton’s offense was undone by turnovers, as both quarterbacks threw one interception to go along with four fumbles.
The Princeton defense, which often started in poor field position, allowed 453 total yards to the impressive Brown offense. Current Ivy League Player of the Week Michael Dougherty completed 26 of 46 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had two players with more than 100 receiving yards, Buddy Farnham (8-128) and Paul Raymond (7-116).
Brown took the opening drive to the Princeton 22-yard-line, where it faced an early fourth-and-three. Choosing to go for it, Brown sophomore tailback Alex Sewell took a direct snap and ran a sweep that was close to the marker. He stretched the ball out for the extra yardage, and John Callahan took advantage by knocking it away before his arm hit the ground. The fumble was recovered by Princeton defensive lineman Matt Koch to end the drive.
Princeton’s first drive ended in similar fashion, but unfortunately took significant less time to unravel. After a short rush and an incompletion, Foran was sacked by Joseph McPhee. The blindside hit jarred the ball loose, and Jake Powers pounced on it at the 7-yard-line. The Bears’ drive started with a penalty and two incompletions, but Brown’s impressive quarterback Michael Dougherty lobbed a perfect fade to Sewell for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Princeton got its offense in gear with two big passes late in the first quarter. Starting a drive at its own 15-yard-line, Foran faked a sweep to Jordan Culbreath, rolled right and then threw a screen pass back to the left side to an open Culbreath. The sophomore, who ran impressively last last weekend against Hampton, followed his blockers up the left sideline for a 34-yard gain. After two rushes yielded a short gain, Foran threw a perfect deep ball to Adam Berry for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Berry caught the ball at the 5-yard-line and maintained his balance as he stumbled into the end zone for the score.
Brown moved the ball effectively on its ensuing drive, which included a fourth-and-two conversion that moved the Bears inside the Tiger red zone. Princeton kept Dougherty from hitting paydirt again, and Brown kicker Steve Morgan drilled a 30-yard field goal to give Brown a 10-7 lead. The kick moved Morgan one behind former Princeton kicker Derek Javarone ’06 on the all-time Ivy League field goal list; Javarone ended his career with 45 field goals for the Tigers.
Brown improved its advantage to 10 points with five minutes remaining in the quarter. After stopping Princeton in three plays, Dougherty got the Brown offense right back in motion. After a Princeton personal foul put the ball in Tiger territory, Buddy Farnham used a double move to get past Dan Kopolovich, and he caught another deep throw from the nation’s leading passer to open the 17-7 lead.
Greg Mroz came in on the next drive and immediately connected with Toresco on a series of short passes that eventually moved the ball into Brown territory. A Culbreath sweep moved the ball to the 30-yard-line, where the Tigers faced a third-and-3. Mroz kept on the option and went up the middle for a seven-yard gain. A quick out to Will Thanheiser moved the ball into the red zone, and a reverse to Culbreath gave Princeton first-and-goal at the 10-yard-line. Princeton nearly scored on six-yard pass to Berry, but the officials ruled that the ball hit the ground first, so the Tigers had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Louden.
The second half had a disastrous start for Princeton, as Gunter fumbled on the second play and Powers grabbed his second fumble recovery of the day. Three plays later, Sewall dove in off the right side of the line to give Brown a 24-10 lead with 12:59 remaining.
Princeton was stopped near midfield on its ensuing drive, but the Tigers got a fantastic punt from Ryan Coyle, who hit a high, scoring kick that bounced at the five-yard line and took off towards the end zone. The hang time allowed Cart Kelly to get down the field and stop the ball inside the one-yard-line.
Brown tailback Jonathon Edwards made sure the momentum was short-lived. He broke through the middle of the line for a 15-yard gain. A 27-yard pass to Farnham moved the ball to the Brown 47-yard-line and a 16-yard rush by Edwards had the ball right back in Princeton territory. A pass interference on third-and-12 gave the explosive Brown offense a second life on the drive, and Morgan made Princeton pay with an Ivy League record-tying 44-yard field goal.
Princeton knew it needed a response, and, following a personal foul, Mroz found Gunter for a 21-yard gain. On the next play, Mroz was hit on a sweep and fumbled, which was recovered by McPhee.
Instead, the response came from the Tiger defense. Pete Buchignani got free on a pass play and hit Dougherty’s arm on the attempt. The ball went straight to Koch, who picked it off and returned it to the 24-yard-line. Three plays yielded negative one yards, and Mroz faced a critical fourth-and-11, and his attempt to Staser was picked off by Steve Ziogas. Following a stop, Princeton turned the ball over again, this time on a Gunter fumble, but Morgan’s 44-yard field goal attempt was wide left, and Princeton remained down 27-10 with 14 minutes remaining.
Princeton went nine yards in three plays on its ensuing drive, setting up a fourth-and-1 from the 36-yard-line. Foran took a high snap and rank a keeper up the middle. He picked up the first down, and 63 yards later, a crucial touchdown. With Brown playing heavily in the box, Foran needed only to find a hold before he turned on his All-Ivy sprinter jets and ran past two Brown defenders for the score. Louden’s 41st straight extra point cut the deficit to 27-17 with 12:14 remaining. The 64-yard touchdown run was Princeton’s longest since a 72-yard touchdown run by Derek Davis in a 2005 win at Harvard.
Brown’s offense didn’t get conservative, and it moved down to the Princeton 4-yard-line. Kopolovich stopped Edwards on third-and-goal, and Morgan set the Ivy League field goal record by kicking a 21-yard field goal. The lead increased to 13 points, but it still remained only a two-possession game with 8:02 remaining.
A defensive breakup by Eric Brewer on third down forced a Coyle punt, but a rare Brown offensive miscue gave Princeton another chance. A muffed handoff bounced on the ground and was pounced on by Buchignani at the 39-yard-line. Princeton didn’t waste any time making the Bears pay, as Foran threw a perfect 39-yard post pass to Circle, who hauled it in for his first score of the year.
Again, Brown refused to get conservative. Following two first downs, Dougherty connected on a 42-yard pass down the middle to Raymond, which set up a 21-yard field goal for Morgan. That gave Brown its eventual 33-21 winning margin. Princeton drove to within field goal range with slightly more than one minute remaining, but Louden sent a 33-yarder wide right, and Brown was able to kneel on it to end the game.
Princeton will continue its New England tour next weekend when it travels to Harvard for a 12:30 showdown against the Crimson. The game, which can be seen live on NESN (DirecTV 623), will be the 100th meeting between the two historic programs. Princeton, which has won consecutive three-point thrillers over their Cambridge rivals, leads the all-time series 52-40-7.