Brown Claims First-Place Showdown With Tiger Football Team
Brown quarterback Michael Dougherty didn't post the same record-breaking numbers he had last week, but he guided a talented offense to two first-quarter touchdowns and two third-quarter touchdowns in a 31-10 victory over Princeton Saturday afternoon on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. The win, Brown's first in six tries at Princeton Stadium, leaves Brown as one of two 2-0 teams in Ivy play, while Princeton shares second place with three other teams.
While the Brown offense has deservedly gotten much of the credit this season, it was the defense that really thwarted Princeton for much of the day. The Bears limited Princeton to a season-low 197 total offensive yards, including 76 on the ground. Junior running back Jordan Culbreath, who entered the weekend leading the Ivy League in rushing, was limited to 67 yards and held out of the end zone for the first time all season. Teammate Meko McCray, running twice on end arounds, scored Princeton's lone touchdown of the day on a 12-yard run in the second quarter.
The passing game struggled in more ways than one. Starter Brian Anderson completed 11-of-22 passes for 109 yards and threw one interception, although he suffered an upper-body injury during the second quarter. He played the first two drives of the third quarter, but he overthrew a handful of passes and had to be replaced. Head coach Roger Hughes played both Dan Kopolovich (1-of-2, 10 yards) and Tommy Wornham (1-of-3, 2 yards), but neither could generate much in the second half.
The Princeton defense was led by Scott Britton, who made a game-high 11 taclkles and added a sack, while both Wilson Cates and Steven Cody recorded seven tackles apiece. Carlos Roque recorded his first career interception, while Mark Ethridge recovered a fumble, marking the first time Princeton forced two turnovers in the game. Unfortunately, both came deep in Princeton territory and didn't lead to scores. Brown got a fumble recovery from Neil Rooney at the Princeton 20-yard-line in the fourth quarter, and two plays later, Buddy Farnham scored from three yards out to give Brown the three-touchdown lead.
The start of the game seemed like it would belong to Princeton, as the Tigers moved from their own 40 to the Brown 1 with an effective mix of runs and passes. A 10-yard pass down the middle of the field to Adam Berry nearly earned Princeton an opening touchdown, but he was stopped just short of the end zone. The Bears, led by a strong defensive front, stopped two runs and one pass on the next three plays, and Ben Bologna finished with an 18-yard field goal. While it was a lead, it wasn't quite as much as Princeton hoped, and it wouldn't last long.
Brown took its first possession 59 yards on five plays, including a 34-yard run by Dougherty, and scored a touchdown on a 6-yard run by Dereck Knight. Princeton was stopped on its next drive, and Brown went 71 yards on five plays to score another touchdown before the first quarter ended. Bobby Sewall's two-yard touchdown run put Princeton down 11 points, its biggest first-half deficit of the season.
Needing a score, Anderson engineered a 4-play, 69-yard drive to get Princeton back within four points. He completed consecutive passes of 33 yards to Will Thanheiser and 20 to Trey Peacock, which got the Tigers to the 12-yard-line. Sophomore Meko McCray, Princeton's top defensive freshman honoree last season and a top sprinter in Ivy League track & field, came in to play wide receiver and went into motion before the snap. He took a handoff, followed his pulling lineman and sprinted to the right sideline and then into the end zone for his first career score.
That drive inspired the Princeton defense, which stopped Brown on both of its final two possessions of the half. The Princeton offense was unable to answer, though; Anderson was injured on the first drive, and Wornham came in for the final few plays of the first half.
Brown took over in the third quarter. A 33-yard field goal by Robert Ranney gave Brown a 17-10 lead to conclude the Bears' first drive of the third quarter. Princeton got the interception by Roque on the next drive, but after a 3-and-out by Princeton, Farnham returned a punt 37 yards to the Princeton 20, and followed one play later with a 20-yard touchdown catch on a perfect throw by Dougherty.
The Princeton offense struggled for first downs in the second half. With Anderson unavailable for approximately the final 20 minutes of the game, the Tigers managed only one first down over that stretch.
Princeton will now focus its attention on a must-win game against 2007 Ivy League champion Harvard, which fell 24-22 at Brown in the second week of the season. With both teams already having one league loss, it could become an elimination game for the loser; no team has won the Ivy League title with a 5-2 record since Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth shared the crown in 1982.