Sept. 20, 2008
Providence, Rhode Island - Coming into the 2008 season, all the talk about Brown football centered around its dynamic high-scoring offense.
But it was Brown's defense that rose to the challenge against a tough Stony Brook team, holding the Seawolves' offense to no points en route to a 17-7 Brown win in the season opener for the Bears at Brown Stadium.
"Today's game was a great defensive effort against a very physical team.," said Brown head coach Phil Estes, who is now 8-3 lifetime in season opening games. "This was the best defensive game I've ever seen from a Brown team."
While the defense dominated the game, Brown's offense was also running on all cylinders from the outset of the game, marching 67 yards on its first possession to grab an early 7-0 lead on a 19-yard touchdown run by senior Jon Edwards with 10:53 left in the opening quarter.
After Brown's defense registered its second consecutive three-and-out by stopping the Seahawks' offense, Brown's offense started rolling again.
Bears head coach rolled the dice and went for a fourth and one at the Stony Brook 45-yard line. The move paid off when senior Dereck Knight bulled his way for a first down, and the Bears drove down the field for another score and a 14-0 advantage on a two-yard touchdown run by junior Buddy Farnham with 3:43 left in the quarter.
Bears' senior Rob Ranney, a backup to Ivy record holder Steve Morgan '08 for the last four years, booted his first career field goal early in the second quarter, converting from 25-yards out to give the Bears a 17-0 advantage.
Brown's defense, meanwhile, held the Seawolves at bay for most of the first half with Stony Brook getting its inaugural first down of the game with three minutes left in the first half.
The Bears kept Stony Brook out of the end zone with a late second quarter stand. On first and goal from the one, the Bears twice stopped Stony Brook for no gain. On third down, Seawolvees quarterback Dayne Hoffman rolled right and headed towards the end zone when Bears' sophomore inside linebacker Andrew Serrano delivered a vicious hit to the airborn Hoffman, spinning him around and causing a fumble that was recovered by junior linebacker Kelly Cox at the Bears' five-yard line with just 17 seconds left in the half.
"That goal line stand was a thing of beauty," commented Estes. "We played with pride and received great leadership on defense."
"That stop was all about heart," said Bears' defensive end James Develin '10. "We dug deep down and pulled it off."
"A tremendous surge by our defensive line pushed the quarterback to the opposite side of the play and enabled us to make a big play," said Bears' outside linebacker Steve Ziogas '09.
Stony Brook's only score came on a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Bears' defense limited Stony Brook's highly regarded rushing attack to just 36 yards on 29 attempts, and just 147 total yards for the game.
Develin led the Bears' defensive assault with nine total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss of 19 yards, and two quarterback sacks. Senior David Howard registered a sack as did sophomore Clay McGrath, making his first career sack.
Both Edwards and Knight finished the game with 49 yards on the ground, while Farnham had a big game with 14 catches for 111 yards. Senior quarterback Michael Dougherty completed 25 of 36 passes for 175 yards.
Brown opens its Ivy League season next Saturday, September 27, hosting Harvard at Brown Stadium in the 108th meeting between the two Ancient Eight Teams. Game time is 12:30 p.m.