PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The football team set a goal of ringing its victory bell after each game for the 2006 campaign, but the only bell ringing in Providence, R.I., on Saturday afternoon was a massive bell anchored underneath the scoreboard at Brown Stadium that one of the Bears’ cheerleaders rang 21 times in the second half as the home team took advantage of a weak defensive effort from Cornell to earn a 28-7 victory in front of its Homecoming crowd.
The Red defense got off to a strong start in the first half, as sophomore safety Tim Bax snatched his first interception of the season and the visitors squelched a red zone opportunity for the Bears by forcing a turnover on downs at the Cornell 13-yard line to preserve a 7-all tie heading into halftime.
However, a different team seemed to emerge from the locker room for the second half, as Cornell penalties and mistakes handed Brown chance after chance to win the game — opportunities that the Bears didn’t squander on their way to victory.
“We didn’t come out and play in the second half,” Bax said. “The passion was n’t there like it was in the first half. We just missed tackles and [it was] lack of effort.”
Cornell finished the game with six penalties for a total loss of 45 yards. Although Brown gave up five penalties of its own for a loss of 48 yards, the Bears were able to take advantage whereas the Red was not.
Brown’s second scoring drive of the game was set in motion when Cornell fumbled a punt return when it bounced off the back of sophomore Anthony Sabo’s leg and was recovered by Brown’s Jake Powers. After holding the Brown at the Cornell 22-yard line for a field goal attempt, the defense opened the door for the Bears to enter the red zone when senior Ryan Kiscadden was charged with a personal foul for an 11-yard loss after roughing the kicker. Brown went ahead for good two plays later when it took a 14-7 lead on a touchdown with 10:04 remaining in the third quarter.
“There were a lot of second chances that we had today and that just comes down to which team is going to make more mistakes,” said Brown quarterback Joe DiGiacomo. “We were more focused today, I think, and we played better as a team. … Little mistakes like that end up killing a team.”
The Cornell defense was never able to recover. Brown was ranked last in the Ivy League in rush offense coming into the game with 80.6 yards per game — a statistic the Bears nearly tripled on Saturday when it finished the game with 220 rushing yards despite gaining just 59 yards on the ground in the first half.
“The holes were huge today,” said Dereck Knight, who had 96 yards on 11 carries for Brown. “They haven’t looked like that all year. And once you get any of us into the secondary, it gets dangerous for the other team.”
Brown kept momentum behind it throughout the second half, holding onto the ball for just over 23 minutes of the second half and running the Cornell defense ragged. Although the Red held the Bears to just 1-of-5 third down conversions in the before halftime, Brown went 5-for-8 in the final two stanzas.
“Today in the second half we just got beat,” said Cornell head coach Jim Knowles ’87. “We got flat out beat. They took control of the game and we didn’t answer. I felt like the effort wasn’t there. I felt like we were out-coached [and] out-played in all facets of the game in the second half. And as the leader of the organization, I have to accept responsibility for that.”