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Bears light up Crimson
Harvard came into Brown Stadium anticipating the first-ever night game in the 85-year history of the facility. The Crimson weren’t expecting to be eclipsed.
That’s precisely what happened to an emotionless team that should have remained on the bus.
Harvard fell behind early by 23 points, showed signs of life by scoring bookend touchdowns 21 seconds apart on either side of halftime and ultimately succumbed to Brown, 29-14, in their Ivy League opener.
Providing the dagger was Bears kicker Alexander Norocea. All the freshman did was convert five field goals (20, 20, 35, 44 and 35 yards) to equal the Bears single-game mark. Norocea’s lone miss came on a 34-yard try in the final minute.
“The offense put us in good position and I just did my job,” Norocea said.
Brown consumed 8:07 and 5:43 from the clock on its opening drives, both of which were punctuated by Norocea field goals.
While the Harvard defense simply couldn’t get off the field, the Crimson offense sputtered, managing only 112 total yards on 46 plays, one week after compiling 423 yards on 66 plays in a win over Holy Cross.
Harvard (1-1) drew 10 penalties for 74 yards and converted 1-of-10 third downs. Two bad snaps also helped Brown (2-0) gain excellent field position.
“(The Bears) played tough, hard-nosed and physical,” Crimson coach Tim Murphy said. “They were very balanced and we’re going to establish the run. Even if it wasn’t going great, they were going to keep hanging in there and banging away. I think our defense got worn out. We left them on the field too much.”
It’s safe to say it was Harvard’s most lackluster defeat since suffering a 24-0 shutout at Columbia in the 1998 season opener.
Brown rotated quarterbacks Joe Springer (8-for-14 passing, 72 yards) and Kyle Newhall-Caballero (7-for-11, 82 yards), and never missed a beat. In addition to the 154 passing yards, the Bears ran for 142.
“All I told the kids was we had to be a better team tonight,” Brown coach Phil Estes said. “We didn’t need individuals. We needed a team effort.”
After the Crimson fell behind 6-0 on Norocea’s opening two field goals, Andrew Hatch rolled to his left and was picked off by Bears linebacker Robert Gillett, who returned the interception 41 yards to the Harvard 1. Mark Kachmer went across for the touchdown on the next play and Norocea’s PAT made it a 13-0 gap with 9:40 left in the second.
A bad snap on third-and-14 led to Hatch (11-of-23, 128 yards, TD, interception) losing 22 yards. Jason Dombrowski followed with a 17-yard punt. Brown went 28 yards in six plays with Norocea banging a 35-yarder through the uprights for a 16-0 lead.
The next time Brown had possession, Newhall-Caballero directed a 69-yard march. Kachmer went over again for his second 1-yard TD and Harvard trailed, 23-0, with 31 seconds left in the first half.
Hatch hooked up with Marco Ianuzzi from 21 yards for a score with 7 seconds left before intermission. Iannuzzi then took the opening kickoff of the second half and returned it 95 yards to paydirt.
Norocea’s last two field goals (44, 35 yards) accounted for the final margin.
Bears light up Crimson
By John Connolly, The Boston Herald