By Christopher Humm
Special to College Sports Journal
Editor’s Note: This story is courtesy of Brown athletics.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Junior tailback Johnny Pena rushed for a career high 112 yards and four touchdowns to lead Brown to its fourth straight win, 44-24, over the Cornell at Schoellkopf Field. The win lifts Brown to a 4-2 overall mark, 2-1 in the Ivy League, while Cornell falls to 0-6, 0-3 in Ivy play.
All four of Pena’s touchdown came on one-yard runs. He was also the first Brown rusher to go over the 100-yard mark this season, running for 112 yards on 25 carries.
“We played a great first half,” said Brown head coach Phil Estes. “I like the way we came out on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Injuries really hurt us in the second half, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Senior quarterback Marcus Fuller had another big day for the Bears, throwing for 246 of his 312 yards in the first half as Brown built a 34-10 lead. Overall, Fuller completed 22-of-38 passes and two touchdowns.
Much of the first half domination came behind junior wide receiver Alex Jette, who had nine catches for 157 yards and a 59-yard touchdown reception. With Brown in control, Jette was not targeted in the second half
Despite missing its top two rushers, Cornell out-gained the Bears on the ground with 226 yards. Jack Gellatly paced the Big Red with a game high 93 yards on 12 carries.
Cornell quarterback Robert Somborn connected on three touchdown passes and completed 18-of-38 passes for 205 yards.
A banged-up Bears defense was paced by senior outside linebacker Quintin Rizek, who made a game high 12 tackles, including one for a loss of 12 yards. Senior inside linebacker Max Tylki had eight tackles, and senior outside linebacker Michael Walsh had a key fumble recovery and seven tackles overall.
Brown took advantage of a Cornell miscue to take an early lead. On Brown’s first possession, Cornell jumped offside giving the Bears a free play. Fuller spotted Jette streaking down the left side of the field and connected on a 59-yard touchdown pass just 36 seconds into the game to give the Bears a 7-0 lead.
The Bears jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a one-yard run by Pena with 6:26 left in the first quarter. But it was Jette who picked up most of the yardage in the 77-yard scoring drive, making three catches for 50 yards, including a 28-yard reception that brought the ball to the Big Red one yard line.
Pena scored on his second consecutive one-yard run, courtesy of the Brown defense. Bears’ inside linebacker Will Twyman forced a fumble deep in Cornell territory that was recovered by Walsh at the Big Red one-yard line. One play later, Brown had a 21-0 lead behind Pena’s one yard run with 5:57 left in the quarter.
Cornell got on the scoreboard on a 7-yard field goal by Joe Pierik with just over a minute to play in the quarter to trail 21-3.
Fuller connected on another long touchdown pass, this time a 30-yard toss to senior Brian Strachan, who made an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone early in the second quarter to lift the Bears to a 28-3 advantage.
The Big Red responded with a 75-yard scoring drive to cut Brown’s lead to 28-10, capped off by a 14-yard scoring pass from Robert Somborn to Ben Rogers.
Pena’s third straight one-yard touchdown run capped a 10 play, 74 yard touchdown drive to lift the Bears to a 34-10 advantage with 2:39 left in the half.
The only score of the third quarter came was on the Cornell side of the scoreboard. Somborn tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Matt Sullivan late in the quarter to cut Brown’s lead to 34-17.
Another Big Red touchdown, a 49-yard Somborn to Rogers pass connection, pulled the Big Red to within 10 points, 34-24, early in the final quarter.
Senior Grant Senne booted a 32 yard field goal with 8:20 remaining and Pena scored on his fourth one-yard run with 2:49 left on the clock.
Brown returns home to host Penn on Halloween afternoon, Saturday at Brown Stadium. It’s Literacy Day with the Providence Public Schools and kick-off is 12:30 p.m.