Sept. 27, 2008
Providence, RI - The 108th meeting between Brown and Harvard proved to be one of the most memorable for Brown fans, with the Bears stopping a two-point Crimson conversion attempt in the waning moments for a 24-22 victory over Harvard at Brown Stadium. The victory lifts Brown to 2-0, 1-0 in the Ivy League, and breaks an eight game losing streak against Harvard, who falls to 1-1, 0-1 in the Ivy League.
With Brown holding a 24-16 lead, and a driving rain pelting the Brown Stadium natural turf, Harvard junior Matt Luft hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Liam O'Hagen with 1:03 left in the game to pull to within 24-22 of the Bears. A roughing-the-passer call enabled Harvard to attempt a two-point conversion from the one-and-a-half yard line.
The Crimson tried to power the ball up the middle on a handoff to junior running back Ben Jenkins. But Brown's defensive front pushed back the Harvard offensive line, and Brown senior defensive lineman Jake Powers and senior outside linebacker Miles Craigwell stuffed Jenkins a yard short of the goal line, giving Brown a two point victory and setting off a wild celebration on the Brown sideline.
"Its an unbelievable feeling to beat Harvard after eight years," said and ebullient Bears' head coach Phil Estes after the game. "These guys have waited a long time for this. We're 2-0 right now and that's all that matters. We practiced real fast this week and we were ready to play."
Harvard had control of the first quarter, grabbing a 6-0 lead with 146 passing yards. The Crimson scored on the first play of the second quarter to pull ahead by a 13-0 margin.
"Sometimes you look forward to a game so much that you get too excited," commented Estes. We were out of sync in the first quarter, but we got a ray of hope on the missed extra point and that really helped."
The Bears came roaring back with a 75-yard scoring drive and pulled to within 13-7. Senior quarterback Michael Dougherty lofted the ball to high into the end zone where junior wide receiver Buddy Farnham wrestled the ball away from the Harvard defender for a 25-yard touchdown reception.
"That was one of the greatest catches I've ever seen," said Estes. "Buddy caught the ball and the defenders head at the same time and somehow came up with the ball."
Brown senior Jesse Spartichino recovered a Crimson fumble that was forced by junior safety Chris Perkins at the Harvard 13 yard line, giving the Bears an opportunity to take the lead. Four plays later from the three-yard line, junior wide receiver Bobby Sewall ran left into a crowd and bounced to the outside for a touchdown to give the Bears a 14-13 advantage with 8:37 left in the quarter.
The Bears struck first in the third quarter, extending their lead to 21-13 on Farnham's second touchdown reception of the day from Dougherty, this time a 23-yard touchdown grab with 4:35 left in the quarter. The big play in the 78-yard, seven-play scoring drive was a 38-yard pass reception by Sewall.
Harvard narrowed Brown's lead to 21-16 with a 27-yard field goal just before the end of the third quarter.
The Bears' senior kicker Robert Ranney booted what proved to be the game's winning points, kicking a 38-yard field goal with 8:54 remaining in the game to give the Bears a 26-16 advantage. Ranney also proved to be a major weapon for the Bears, punting for a 44.6 yards per punt average.
Farnham caught four passes for 78 yards on the day, but Sewall was the offensive star with nine receptions for 105 yards. Dougherty completed 20 of 36 passes for 231 yards.
Pawtucket native and Brown tailback Dereck Knight had a big day for the Bears after being injured against the Crimson a year ago, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. Knight battled and bulled his way to 84 yards on the ground on 18 carries against a stingy Crimson defense, often dragging defenders along the way.
Brown's spirited defense was led by junior Chris Perkins, who made a team high nine tackles. Five different Brown defensive linemen came up with tackles for a loss, including Joe McPhee, Joe Yanchunis, Kelley Cox, David Howard and Peter Hughes.
Crimson quarterback Chris Pizzotti had a big day, completing 25 of 45 passes for 320 yards, including two touchdown passes. Luft was the main target, catching 10 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown travels to Kingston, Rhode Island for the 92nd battle with Rhode Island for the Governor's Cup on Saturday, October 4, 2008, kicking-off at 1:00 p.m. Brown alum and Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri '69 will be on hand to present the Governor's Cup to the winning team at the end of the game.