Late Comeback Falls Short as Bears Fall To Crimson, 35-34
Sept. 25, 2004
Providence, RI - Brown's 21-point halftime lead wasn't enough to stand up as Harvard rallied from a 31-10 halftime deficit to defeat the Bears, 35-34, before a crowd of 9,278 and a national television audience at Brown Stadium.
Freshman kicker Steve Morgan drew the Bears to within one point of the Crimson with 5:15 remaining in the game. The Bears got the ball back when sophomore Zak DeOssie made a jarring hit on Harvard's quarterback, forcing a fumble that was recovered by junior Pat Curran at the Crimson 30 yard line. But the Bears stalled and Morgan's 30-yard field goal attempt missed by inches, allowing the Crimson to escape with a one-point victory.
Brown dominated play from the start, grabbing a 21-0 lead before settling on a 21-3 first quarter advantage.
The Bears opened the scoring on their first possession when sophomore quarterback Joe DiGiacomo took a direct snap in the shotgun position, and scampered 53 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback keeper, out-running the Harvard secondary. The score came just 1:48 into the first quarter.
DiGiacomo then connected on the second longest pass play in Brown football history. On third and long at the Brown 17 yard line, DiGiacomo threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to junior Jarrett Schreck, who caught the ball at the Crimson 45 yard line and out-ran Harvard into the end zone with 10:25 remaining in the quarter, giving Brown a 14-0 advantage.
Junior runningback Nick Hartigan gave the Bears a 21-0 lead when he bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out with 4:45 left in the half, capping a 74-yard, seven play scoring drive.
The Crimson got on the scoreboard first in the second quarter, cutting the Bears lead to 21-10 with 9:17 remaining. The Bears answered immediately by mounting a four play, 77-yard drive, with Hartigan exploding into the end zone from 17-yards out to give the Bears a 28-10 lead. The key play in the drive was a 49-yard pass play between DiGiacomo and Schreck.
The Bears grabbed a 31-10 lead at the half when Morgan kicked a 24-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the half. The field goal was the first in 18 games for the Bears, who last converted a field goal in the fourth game of the 2002 season vs. Fordham.
At halftime, Brown senior tri-captain Lawrence Rubida, who has been undergoing treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, was joined by fellow tri-captains Will Burroughs and Anjel Gutierrez, Brown coach Phil Estes, interim Athletic Director Joan Taylor, Richard Dresdale, Brown Class of 1978, Hall of Fame football coach and cancer survivor Marv Levy, and Lawrence's father, Kirk Rubida, for an emotional ceremony. Coach Estes announced the formation of the Lawrence Rubida Trust to help with Lawrence's healthcare costs, living expenses, and rehabilitation, and to fulfill Lawrence's goal of supporting Ewing's Sarcoma research and young people with cancer.
Harvard came out strong in the second half and cut the Bears lead to 31-28 after three quarters with two touchdowns, a field goal and a two-point conversion. The Crimson took the lead for good, 35-31, with an early fourth quarter touchdown.
The loss put a damper on an extraordinary performance by Schreck, who caught 10 passes for 253 yards. His 253 receiving yards are second best in Brown football history, just 16 yards short of Brown's all-time receiving mark of 269 yards by Chas Gessner '03 against Rhode Island in 2001.
Hartigan also turned in a strong performance, leading all rushers with 175 yards on 34 carries. DiGiacomo accounted for 380 yards of total offense, passing for 313 yards and running for 67 more.
Junior Jamie Gasparella had a big game for the Bears defense, making 11 total tackles. Senior linebacker Scott Epperson chipped in with 9 tackles.
Junior defensive end James Frazier was a handful for the Crimson offensive line, registering three quarterback sacks and eight tackles. DeOssie also had eight tackles to go with his quarterback sack.