Providence, Rhode Island - With rain pounding the Brown Stadium
tundra, Brown turned in a tenacious effort to defeat Rhode Island,
28-20, in the 94th battle for the Governor’s Cup. Senior
Buddy Farnham accounted for 274 all-purpose yards and two
touchdowns to lead the Bears over the Rams. The victory lifts the
Bears to 1-2 on the season, while URI drops to 1-3.
Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Brown Class of 1965, was on hand to watch a Herculean performance by the All-American Farnham, who caught touchdown passes of 32 and 42 yards, made five receptions for 100 yards, returned four punts 97 yards, including a 67-yard return, and brought back three kickoffs 77 yards, with a long return of 31 yards.
The 97 punt return yards by Farnham is the third best performance in Brown football history.
“Buddy Farnham is our best player, and is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever seen,” said Bears’ head coach Phil Estes. “I compare him to Sean Morey (Brown’s All-Pro wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals) – he’s always trying to get better. He doesn’t miss a practice or game. He makes every play count.”
Senior wide receiver Bobby Sewall also turned in a strong performance for the Bears scoring on a five-yard run, making a 13-yard touchdown reception, and running in a two-point conversion. Overall he ran for 22 yards and caught two passes for 28 yards.
While Farnham and Sewall received praise from Estes, the Brown head coach had special kudos for the play of sophomore punter Nate Lovett, who punted eight times in the driving rain for a 40.9 yard per punt average. With less than a minute left in the game and Brown clinging to an eight point lead, 11 URI players rushed the punter and Lovett delivered with a 50 yard boot to the URI six yard line, pinning the Rams deep with 48 seconds remaining.
“Nate punted exceptionally well under duress, and his punting and kickoffs were immense for our victory, said Estes. “He definitely deserves a game ball.”
Rhode Island struck first, grabbing an early 7-0 lead on a 68-yard run by Anthony Ferrar.
Brown answered on its next possession, driving 80 yards in six plays, capped off by a 32 yard touchdown pass from junior Kyle Newhall to Farnham with 6:10 left in the first quarter to pull the Bears to within 7-6 of the Rams.
The Rams extended their lead to 14-6 on a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. A controversial personal foul call on the runback was deemed a dead-ball foul, despite taking place while play was still live, and the Rams were forced to kick-off from the 20-yard line.
Brown’s Farnham returned the ensuing kickoff to the Rhode Island 42-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Newhall spotted Farnham deep and connected with the All-American at the two-yard line. Farnham caught the pass and wrestled his way into the end zone for a Brown touchdown with 8:50 left in the quarter. Sewall ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game, 14-14.
The Bears got their first big break of the game early in the third quarter. Senior linebacker Kelly Cox made a jarring hit, forcing a fumble that was recovered by senior Chris Perkins at the URI 13-yard line. Newhall took advantage of the break on Brown’s first play from scrimmage, spotting Sewall in the front of the end zone for a 13-yard scoring play to give the Bears a 21-14 advantage with 10:45 left in the quarter.
Brown took control of the game on another big play by Farnham, who fielder a punt at his own 26 yard line and returned it 69 yards to the URI five yard line. On the next play, Sewall took the direct snap once again and scampered around left tackle to score with 53 seconds left in the quarter to lift the Bears to a 28-14 lead.
Uri registered the lone touchdown of the fourth quarter with a 55-yard screen pass for a touchdown with 3:14 left in the game, bringing the Rams to within 28-20 of the Bears. Brown senior David Howard blocked the extra point.
Bears’ junior quarterback Kyle Newhall was solid in the sloppy conditions, completing 14 of 26 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Junior runningback Zack Tronti ran for 64 hard yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 21 yards.
Perkins and freshman AJ Cruz each made nine tackles to lead the Bears, with Perkins recovering a fumble. Cox, senior Brian Neff, senior James Develin each made five total tackles with Develin making 1.5 tackles for a loss and Serrano a tackle for a loss. Junior John Anderson registered two tackles for a loss of five yards.
Brown hosts Holy Cross next Saturday, October 10th in its final non-league game of the season. Game time is 12:30 p.m. at Brown Stadium.