“Brown did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback,” head coach Tony Reno said. “We didn’t handle it as well as we usually do.”
Brown jumped out to an early 7–0 lead with a 52-yard touchdown run by receiver Livingstone Harriott on its opening possession. The 52-yard burst was the longest running play the Yale defense has given up all year.
The Eli offense struggled in the first quarter, gaining just 71 yards as the offensive line could not contain the explosive Brown pass rush. The Bears sacked Rawlings twice in the first period and forced him to rush several throws.
Yale’s special teams got the Bulldogs on the board when Brown punter Ryan Kopec mishandled a snap in his own endzone. Tight end Sebastian Little ’17 recovered the ball as it rolled to the back of the endzone, giving the Elis a safety.
However, the Bulldogs could not convert on their ensuing possession, as Rawlings overthrew receiver Reed Klubnik ’20, who was open down the center of the field. The freshman quarterback threw for just 53 yards on the first quarter, with 51 of those yards going to Klubnik.
After playing through three quarters of the Columbia game without a turnover, Rawlings was picked off early in the second quarter by Brown’s William Twyman after the linebacker swatted the ball at the line of scrimmage and snagged it with one hand. Brown took over at the Yale 35-yard line, but safety Hayden Carlson ’18 made a touchdown-saving tackle on the three-yard line to force Brown to settle for a field goal, which the Bears converted to take a 10–2 lead.
Yale gained some momentum on the next drive, behind a 27-yard pass to receiver JP Shohfi ’20 and 21 yards rushing by running back Alan Lamar ’20. The drive stalled in the red zone, but Alex Galland ’19 cut the Brown lead with a 35-yard field goal.
Despite starting the next possession on its own three yard line, Brown marched 94 yards down the field in just under five minutes, scoring with 29 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Yale defense missed several tackles on the drive and hit Brown quarterback TJ Linta late for a roughing the passer penalty to put the Bears in the redzone. Running back Johnny Pena punched the ball in for a touchdown on a two-yard run and the Bears took a 17–5 lead into halftime.
Brown drove the ball down to Yale’s 19-yard line to open the half before Carlson saved the day again, jumping in front of a Linta pass near the Yale goal line and making the interception, his fifth turnover of the season. Yale went three-and-out on its next possession, giving Brown another scoring opportunity. The Bears marched inside the five-yard line before another goal line stop from the Yale defense forced a Brown field goal.
Rawlings and his offense responded as the freshman found Little for a 33-yard reception that set up another Galland field goal. Yale forced a three-and-out to temporarily swing momentum, but the Elis failed to convert on their next two possessions. On their next drive, the Bulldogs would drive the ball down inside the red zone behind a 28-yard pass to Shohfi and hard running by Lamar, but would ultimately turn it over on downs.
Yale’s defense would keep the Bulldogs in the game on the next play, when Harriott coughed up the ball inside his own five yard-line and defensive end Julian Fraser ’20 recovered at the three. A few snaps later, Lamar leaped for the pylon and scored from one-yard out for Yale’s first touchdown of the game, cutting Brown’s lead to 20–15.
The Elis forced another three-and-out, but Rawlings underthrew his receiver which resulted in an interception halfway through the fourth quarter. Brown scored a touchdown off the freshman’s mistake, a 22-yard reception to receiver Demitri Jackson.
Rawlings responded to his turnover by orchestrating a 75-yard touchdown drive, dinking and dunking to Shohfi and Klubnik down the field before Lamar punched it in from three yards out. Lamar finished with 77 yards and both of Yale’s touchdowns, while the freshman duo of Shohfi and Klubnik finished with 177 of Yale’s 255 yards through the air.
The Eli defense held fast after a failed onside kick and forced a three-and-out, but the game ended on the next play after a failed punt return. The ball made contact with a Yale blocker before return man Jason Alessi ’18 could grab it. Brown recovered the fumble, and left the Elis without timeouts and Brown took a knee to run out the clock.