Nov. 22, 2008
Providence, RI - Playing in sub-freezing temperatures on the frozen tundra at Brown Stadium, Brown played like a champion and came away with a 41-10 victory over Columbia and the Ivy League Championship before a Brown Stadium crowd of 7,865, earning Brown's third Ivy title in the last 10 years and fourth ever league championship.
Brown's fourth Ivy League Championship was especially sweet for the seniors on the Brown football team. The Bears had previously captured Ivy League titles in 1976, 1999 and 2005. This year's group of 21 seniors, Brown's Class of 2009, became the first class in Brown football history to earn two Ivy League Championships.
"Our seniors just made Brown football history," said head coach Phil Estes. "They now have two rings to put on their fingers. I can't be happier that I am now."
The win over Columbia for the Ivy title further enhanced the coaching credentials of Bears' head coach Phil Estes, who has now led Brown to three Ivy League Championships in his 11 years as head coach of the Bears. Brown had captured one Ivy League Championship in the previous 43 years.
The Bears finished with a 7-3 overall record, 6-1 in the Ivy League, and will share the title with Harvard (6-1 Ivy), a 10-0 winner over Yale this afternoon, despite beating Harvard in a head-to-head meeting earlier this year.
"We won the Ivy title," said Estes. "We beat Harvard head to head and its our championship."
The offensive hero for the Bears was senior quarterback Michael Dougherty, who braved the elements to throw three touchdowns on passes of 32, 21 and 13 yards, and run for another, a 22-yard touchdown scamper. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 261 yards in near impossible throwing conditions.
Senior runningback Dereck Knight from Pawtucket, Rhode island, was a workhorse in the second half, running for a game high 87 yards, including 50 in the second half as the Bears ran out the clock.
Junior wide receivers Bobby Sewall (Portsmouth, RI) and Buddy Farnham (Andover, MA) each caught six passes, Farnham for 76 yards and a 21 yard touchdown grab, and Sewall a 13 yard touchdown grab and a 3 yard touchdown run.
Going into a strong headwind, Brown got the game's first break when Rob Ranney's punt hit a Columbia player at the Columbia 42 yard line and the Bears' Andrew Serrano made the recovery. Five plays later, Sewall scampered into the end zone from four yards out to give the Bears a 7-0 lead with 12:06 left in the first quarter.
Columbia struck next with a 70-yard scoring run by quarterback M.A. Olawale with 9:18 left in the quarter, knotting the game at 7-7.
The Bears jumped back on top, 14-7, when Dougherty scored on a 23 yard run with 11:31 left in the second quarter, capping a 52 yard scoring drive.
Brown kicker Robert Ranney gave the Bears a 17-7 advantage when he booted a 34 yard field goal with 6:06 left in the half.
The wind conditions helped the Bears to another score, following a 19 yard Columbia punt into the wind that was downed at the Lions 34 yard line. Two plays later, Dougherty connected on a 32 yard touchdown pass to senior Colin Cloherty with 3:40 left in the half to lift the Bears to a 24-7 advantage.
A Columbia 23-yard field goal as time expired in the half cut the Brown lead to 24-10 at the half.
Senior Steve Ziogas intercepted a pass for the Bears on Columbia's first series of the second half, returning the ball to the Lions 21 yard line. Dougherty struck on the first play from scrimmage when he handed off to senior Dereck Knight, who pitched back to Dougherty on the flea-flicker. Dougherty lofted a ball high into the end zone where Farnham made the catch for a 21 yard touchdown, giving the Bears a 31-10 lead with 13:40 left in the third quarter.
The onslaught continued when Miles Craigwell recovered a Columbia on the Lions xxx yard line. Six plays later, Brown extended its lead to 34-10 on a 26 yard field goal by Ranney.
The Bears broke the game open late in the third quarter with a 93-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Sewall with 3:37, giving the Bears a 41-10 lead.