Yale (2–6, 1–4 Ivy) struggled to move the ball against Brown’s (5–3, 2–3 Ivy) defense despite the return of quarterback Eric Williams ’16, ultimately falling 20-0 to the Bears.
The outlook on Williams looked bleak when he hobbled to the sidelines after being tackled on his first run of the game. Varga took over under center and marched the Elis to Brown’s 26-yard line, but kicker Philippe Panico’s kick was short.
After a three-and-out by the Bears, Williams returned to the field on Yale’s next series but was intercepted by Brown defensive back A.J. Cruz. A pass interference call nullified the play, then Cruz picked Williams on the very next play.
Bears’ signal caller Patrick Donnelly took advantage of the takeaway 10 plays later with a 3-yard scoring toss to fullback Cody Taulbee with 9:41 left in the first quarter.
Running back Tyler Varga ’15 fumbled the hand off to fellow running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 on Yale’s next possession, but defensive end Beau Palin ’14 stuffed Taulbee for no gain on third and one to bring out Brown’s punting unit.
The Elis also could not move the chains and Cruz returned punter Kyle Cazzetta’s ’15 kick 14 yards to the Yale 39. Brown made it 10-0 at 10:32 in the second quarter when kicker Alex Norocea’s field goal attempt floated just above the cross bar from 38 yards out.
Yale’s ensuing drive started on the wrong foot when Varga was taken down 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The Bulldogs were unable to recover the ground and forced to punt, but Cazzetta’s drilled the kick 62 yards all the way to Brown’s 3-yard line.
The Bears’ offense stalled and punted to its own 48. Defensive back Keith Hawk fielded the punt. Hawk fumbled the football, but defensive back Kurt Stottlemyer ’13 dove on the ball to maintain possession.
Unable to pass the line of scrimmage, the Elis were forced to punt yet again and Cruz called for a fair catch at Brown’s 10 after a 42-yard punt by Cazzetta.
Yale got the ball back with 1:44 remaining until halftime at its own 18, but Williams was intercepted by Cruz for the second time in the game. Wide receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14 forced a fumble as Cruz returned the interception and offensive lineman Ben Carbery ’15 saved Yale’s drive and recovered the ball at the 16.
Given a new set of downs, Williams threw three straight incompletions to bring Cazzetta back onto the field. Using the rugby-style punting technique, Cazzetta drove the ball 72 yards all the way to Brown’s 6.
Williams finished the half just 1-8 passing for 6 yards and two interceptions. Yale had three turnovers in the first half and just 81 yards of total offense. Varga was the lone bright spot on offense with 52 rushing yards on 11 first-half carries.
Yale’s troubles continued after the break. The two teams traded punts to start the second half, then Brown added to its lead with a 46-yard field goal by Norocea with 8:52 left in the third for a 13-0 advantage.
Following a three-and-out by the Bulldogs, Brown took over and blew through Yale’s defense for 75 yards on five plays for another touchdown. With 4:26 left to go in the third quarter, Donnelly rolled to his left and found wide receiver Jordan Evans just inside the pylon for a 25-yard scoring strike to make it 20-0 Bears.
The score would remain 20-0 as neither team could find the end zone in the final quarter. Except for a 40-yard run by Cargill, the Elis struggled gaining ground against the Brown defense.
The Bears might have scored more against the Bulldogs if not for the punting of Cazzetta. The punter downed ten kicks on Brown’s ten yard line or deeper to pin the Bears deep.
Yale returns home next Saturday to host Princeton.