Bears, Rams Battle For Governor’s Cup
Thursday, October 03, 2013
There are many good reasons for local sports fans to head out to Brown Stadium in Providence Saturday evening.
First, the Brown Bears will host the Rhody Rams on the gridiron for a shiny trophy called the Governor's Cup.
Second, for the fourth straight year, Brown has imported portable lights so that the game can be played Saturday evening starting at 6pm. These night games have attracted large crowds to Brown Stadium including most of Brown's student body making for a great pregame tailgating experience as well as a terrific atmosphere at the game itself.
Third, the weather forecast for Saturday is about the same as it has been for the past month here in Rhode Island, which is to say great!
Lastly, it's Rhode Island Legends Night at Brown Stadium where some of the greatest male and female athletes in this state's history will be honored at halftime of the game.
Let's start with the match-up itself which the Bears lead 69-26-2 including two straight wins and three out of the last four.
Brown enters the game with a record of (1-1) having beaten Georgetown and lost to Harvard. Rhode Island is (2-3) having recently scored wins over Albany and Central Connecticut. Both coaches are looking forward to Saturday night's game.
"I'm trying to figure out what type of team we have here," said Bears head coach Phil Estes at Thursday's press conference hosted by Governor Lincoln Chafee (Brown '75) at the State House. "Are we as good as the team that beat Georgetown easily in the opener or was Georgetown not that good? Or, are we as bad as the team that lost to Harvard or is Harvard that good?"
Estes poses a great question. Brown's performance Saturday night may give him a better indication as to what type of team he does have this year.
The Brown head coach has also had to deal with the challenge of getting his players to forget the disappointment of their loss to Ivy League-rival Harvard and get ready to face URI. "We've always told our players and we as coaches to turn the page win or lose on Sunday after a game," Estes said. "The beauty of this game is that there's a piece of hardware (the Governor's Cup) attached to it so there's something to play for."
Rhode Island head coach Joe Trainer seems to be in a better place of late having won twice this season after going winless in 2012. "I can tell you this," he said. "We're coming into this game with a much better team than we had coming into this game the last two years."
Trainer also said that the sting of losing to Brown the last two seasons in this game may also be a motivating factor come Saturday. "We got beaten pretty good up there (Brown Stadium) two years ago and some of the seniors on this year's team who were a part of that remember it," he said. The inference being that they would like to right that wrong come Saturday night. It all makes for a very intriguing match-up.
Meanwhile, at halftime of the game, a number of Rhode Island sports legends will be honored. Among those who will be there are former Friar greats Ernie DiGregorio and Joe Hassett along with current PC head coach Ed Cooley. PGA pro Brad Faxon will be on hand along with East Providence and former Boston College and indianapolis Colts star Jamie Silva. Olympic gold medalist Sara DeCosta-Hayes, David Emma, Brad Wilson and the Bennett brothers will be there representing the sport of hockey. TJ Sorrentine, Dave Stenhouse, Carolyn Norris, Mark van Eeghen, Anna Grezebien and many others will be on hand as part of what should be a very special ceremony for Rhode Island sports fans to enjoy.
The idea was that of Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes who is a native Rhode Islander. "It's been a lot of fun putting this together," he said. "I have been overwhelemed by the response of these legendary athletes. Many of them have expressed to me how thrilled they are to be a part of it and how surprised they are to be honored by Brown even though they have no direct connection to the university."
For a variety of reasons, it should be a special night at Brown Stadium on Saturday.