Providence, Rhode Island – Yale sophomore Chris Smith returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and kicker Philippe Panico booted a 36-yard field goal with 9:30 remaining, to lift the Elis to a 27-24 win over Brown before 6,222 at Brown Stadium. The loss drops the Bears to 3-2 in the Ivy League, 4-4 overall, while Yale extended its record to 4-1 in the Ivy League, 6-2 overall.
"You can't spot a team 14 points and expect to win," said Brown head coach Phil Estes. "We need to fix our kickoff coverage. Two consecutive touchdown returns take the wind out of your sails."
Following Smith's second kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Elis a 14-point advantage, Brown battled back from a 24-10 second quarter deficit to tie the game, 24-24 after three quarters. Senior tailback Zach Tronti tied the game for the Bears on a 15-yard scoring run with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
Panico's game-winning kick was his second field goal of the day, lifting the Elis to a 27-24 lead with 9:30 remaining in the game.
Offensively, Brown senior quarterback Joe Springer completed 17 of 35 passes for 269 yards. He completed four passes each to senior Alex Tounkara, sophomore Tellef Lundevall and junior Jimmy Saros. Tronti rushed for 54 yards and caught two passes for 53 yards.
Yale scored on its first possession when Panico booted a 36-yard field goal at the 10:13 mark to grab an early 3-0 advantage.
The Elis didn't let up, extending their lead to 10-0 when Alex Thomas ran around left end 27-yards for a touchdown to cap a 36-yard scoring drive with 7:22 left in the first quarter. Thomas would finish the game with 121 yards on the ground.
Brown got back into the game following an interception by senior linebacker Andrew Serrano at the Yale 49-yard line. The Bears moved down the field, with the big play a 33-yard pass play from Springer to Tounkara that advanced the ball to the Yale nine yard line. Two plays later, sophomore Mark Kachmer scored on a two yard run to pull the Bears to within 10-7 of the Elis with 6:38 left in the half.
Yale answered immediately on the ensuing kickoff when Smith scampered 79 yards for a touchdown to give Yale a 17-7 advantage.
Freshman Alex Norocea booted a 32 yard field goal with 4:13 left in the second quarter to cut Yale's lead to 17-10.
Lightning struck the Bears once again when Smith returned the following kickoff for a touchdown, this time an 83-yard return for a touchdown, giving the Elis a 24-10 advantage.
Undaunted, Brown answered the Bulldogs' score by driving 65 yards in seven plays on its next possession, with Springer connecting on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Saros with 1:46 left in the half to cut Yale's lead to 24-17.
Serrano, who made 12 tackles, and had a tackle for a loss to go with his interception, led Brown's defensive effort. Sophomore defensive back AJ Cruz picked off a pass for the Bears and made eight total tackles. Junior outside linebacker Shane Cooney, junior safety Stephen Peyton and junior tackle Joseph Rettig made seven tackles each.
Brown plays its final road game of the season, traveling to Hanover, New Hampshire to face Dartmouth. The game will be televised live on the VERSUS Network, starting at 12:00 noon at Memorial Stadium.