Second Half Comeback Bid Falls Short, Bears Fall To URI, 28-21

Sept. 30, 2006

Box Score

Providence, RI - Despite a strong second half comeback after falling behind by 21 points at the half, the Brown football team (1-2, 0-1) fell 28-21 to the University of Rhode Island Saturday at Meade Stadium, giving the Rams the Governor's Cup for the first time in three years. Senior quarterback Joe DiGiacomo (Doylestown, PA) hit junior Paul Raymond (Miami, FL) for two long scores in the second half, but an interception on Rhody's one-yard line denied the Bears the tying score and proved to be the difference.

With the Rams already riding a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) provided some instant offence and got the Bears on the board with a one-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown. Nuzzo rushed the ball six times for 23 yards on the drive, with junior tailback Dereck Knight (Pawtucket, RI) rushing five times for 38 yards.

Rhody scored once more before the half to make it 28-7 going into the break. The Bears were the first on the board in the second half when DiGiacomo re-entered the game and passed for 80 yards to lead Brown to the end zone, capping the drive with an 11-yard completion on a flea-flicker to Raymond. DiGiacomo handed off to Knight, who pitched the ball back to the quarterback for a pass. DiGiacomo also completed passes of 16 and 13 yards to freshman wide receiver Buddy Farnham (Andover, MA) and one 40-yard play-action strike to senior Lonnie Hill (Salem, MA).

The Bears had a key defensive stand near the end of the third quarter, stopping a URI fourth and one on the Brown 25 yard line. Senior Justin Revelle (Pennington, NJ) led the Brown push to stop Rhody's run up the middle, forcing a turnover on downs. While the stop did not directly lead to points, it clearly put the momentum in Brown's favor. The Bears' defense did not allow a first down the rest of the game.

The Bears made it a game again with 10:22 to play. After a Farnham punt return put the Bears on their own 39, Raymond beat his man and DiGiacomo found him for a 61-yard strike and the touchdown, bringing the Bears to within seven points of URI, 28-21.

It appeared the Bears would score again after they started on Rhody's 37-yard line. Sophomore Jonathan May (Naples, FL) got a piece of URI's punt, causing it to go just 11 yards on a high kick. But with Bruno's offense threatening, Brown receivers twice couldn't hold on in the end zone. A URI penalty for roughing the passer brought the ball all the way up to the URI 13, but two plays later, on third down, DiGiacomo's pass was intercepted on the one-yard line and returned to midfield.

Brown's second half defensive effort was spearheaded by senior All-American linebacker Zak DeOssie (North Andover, MA), who dominated play with 15 total tackles, including13 solo hits, and two tackles for a loss of six yards. DeOssie's play helped inspire a Brown defense which held the Rams to 112 second half yards.

Junior linebacker Eric Brewer (Vero Beach, FL) also came through for the Bears' defense with nine solo tackles, 10 overall, while junior corner back Jose Yearwood (Spring Hill, FL) made eight solo hits.

DiGiacomo passed for 163 of his 244 yards in the second half, completing 17 of 34 passes overall. On the receiving end, Hill made five catches for 82 yards, Farnham hauled in five catches for 64 yards, Raymond caught four catches for 90 yards and senior Thomas Balestracci (New Bedford, MA) made four receptions for 41 yards.

With seniors Brandon Markey (Seattle, WA) and Akin Oyalowo (Bowie, MD) out of the game due to injury, Knight stepped up with 61 rushing yards on 16 attempts.

Junior Steve Morgan's (New Albany, OH) 72-yard second half punt was the 15th longest in Brown football history, and he finished the day with a 51.0 yards per punt average in three punts.

Brown travels to Worcester, MA, next Saturday, October 7, to renew its series with Holy Cross. The two teams have played 51 times, dating back to 1898, but haven't met since a 37-14 Brown victory on September 30, 1995. The two teams are now scheduled to play at least through 2011. Game time is 1:00 p.m. at Fitton Field.