Brown rallied to score 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to earn a 24-21 come-from-behind victory over Rhode Island in the 102nd Governor's Cup football game on Saturday night at Brown Stadium. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo presented the Governor's Cup to an effusive Brown team at midfield at the completion of the game.
"This was a great win for our football team," said Brown head coach Phil Estes. "There's something about the Governor's Cup that brings out the best in Brown football. This football team has vision and we started to see what happens when we play together."
Freshman Darius Daies (St. Louis, MO) rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries, scoring two touchdowns to lead the Bears' rushing attack. He rushed for 78 of his 95 yards in the decisive second half, scoring on runs of 22 and 7 yards.
"Darius became our secret weapon," said Estes. "He ran hard and never let the game get ahead of him."
Senior quarterback Thomas Linta (Bradford, CT) threw for 226 yards and a touchdown in the second half comeback. Sophomore Jakob Prall (Tipp City, OH) led the Bears' wide receivers with seven catches for 103 yards.
Defensively, Connor Coughlin (Medford, NY) finished with 11 tackles, including two tackles for a loss and three pass break ups. Senior outside linebacker Jay Williams (Tucson, AZ) registered eight tackles for the Bears.
Trailing 14-3 at the half, the Bears offense got on track on its opening possession of the second half. Starting at its own 26-yard line, Brown drove 74 yards in four plays, capped off by a 22-yard touchdown run by Daies, to trail 14-10 with 11:25 left in the third quarter. The big play in the drive was a 41-yard pass from Linta to Prall.
Brown grabbed its first lead of the game when Linta connected on an 18 yard scoring strike to senior Isaac Whitney (Venice, FL) with 7:47 left in the half to lift the Bears to a 17-14 advantage.
The Bears' third quarter offensive juggernaut continued with Dais scoring once again, this time on a seven-yard run, to extend their lead to 24-14 with 2:57 left in the quarter. Overall, the Bears racked up 225 yards of total offense in the quarter.
Rhode Island cut Brown's lead to 24-21 with 10:19 left in the game when Harris connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Parker.
The Rams forced a punt defensively and had a chance to tie the game at 5:31 with a field goal, but it sailed wide left.
Rhode Island again forced a Brown punt and gained possession with 5:10 remaining. With the Rams at the Brown 35, the Bears' defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five. Daies and the Bears were then able to run out the clock with the rookie racking up 16 yards in the final four minutes.
URI got on the scoreboard to open the game after recovering a Brown fumbled punt at the URI 46-yard line. One play later, Harold Cooper burst through the Brown line and ran 54 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams a 7-0 advantage with 11:24 left in the opening quarter.
Senior kicker Ben Rosenblatt (Newton Center, MA) got Brown on the scoreboard when he booted a 19-yard field goal with 5:45 left in the quarter to trail, 7-3.
Rhode Island extended its lead to 14-3, capitalizing on another Brown fumble. Rams' quarterback Tyler Harris connected on a 19-yard scoring strike to Khayri Denny with 4:02 left in the half.
Aaron Parker paced Rhode Island's receiving crew with 128 yards and a touchdown. Harris finished the contest with 298 yards in the air with two touchdowns. In the running game, Harold Cooper ran for 54 yards and a score.
Brown travels to Deland, Florida next Saturday, October 7 to face Stetson in the second ever meeting between the two universities. Game time is 12:30 pm at Spec Martin Stadium.