The University of Rhode Island football season has not started well, but Saturday was a chance to grab their first win against conference foe Albany.
The Rams put up more points than they had in their first two games combined, but the Great Danes proved to be too much as the Rams lost their Colonial Athletic Association opener, 37-20, on Saturday at Meade Stadium
Rhode Island dominated on both sides of the ball during the first quarter, building a 14-3 advantage. Â Redshirt freshman Mack Lowrie connected on his first seven passes, including a 47-yard deep ball to senior wide receiver Robbie Jackson and a touchdown to junior wide receiver Ross Kim. Â A one-yard touchdown from senior running back Lyle McCombs gave Rhode Island a two-score lead halfway into the quarter.
The Rams defense was also up to the challenge early not allowing Albany to convert on any of their four chances on third down and allowing just 28 passing yards.
After their impressive first 15 minutes everything changed for the Rams, with the second quarter belonging entirely to the Great Danes. Â The Rams allowed 140 yards in the second quarter alone, while also turning the ball over once. Â This was a sign of things to come as it was the first of three quarters where the Rams would be gashed on the ground, allowing Albany redshirt senior running back Omar Osbourne to record 121 yards by halftime.
Ultimately the Rams allowed the Great Danes to control the ball and time of possession, and were outscored 20-0, going into half down 23-14.
“At time we were fit correctly, but we need to have a more physical presence in the run game.” Rhode Island head coach Jim Fleming said. ““We had every expectation of coming in and getting a win, but give credit to Albany. We will keep grinding and we will get there eventually.”
The second half was more of the same for the Rams as Albany controlled the ball for nine of the 15 minutes in the third quarter, converting on three third downs.
The Rams passing game, which seemed promising early, vanished with the Rams gaining a total of just 37 yards in the third quarter and ultimately punting on all three drives. The third quarter ended with Albany taking a commanding 30-14 lead.
“Albany had more manageable third downs in the second half,” Fleming said. “They had more success on first and second down.”
The fourth quarter saw the Rams have just two possessions for the entire quarter, one which started with just three minutes left in the game and led to a rushing touchdown by senior running back Lyle McCombs. Â The Rams were not able to stop the run and allowed Albany to convert one more touchdown ultimately giving them the 37-20 win. Â Osbourne finished the day with 153 yards on the ground.
Rhode Island was without defensive back Tim Wienclaw, who led the nation in forced fumbles with three entering the game. Wienclaw’s absence was felt after the Rams allowed 457 yards of total offense in the loss.
“At the end of the day we needed to put a cap on the wildcat and we got gashed” Rhode Island line backer Andrew Bose, who collected his 200th career tackle during the game, said. “We just have to execute better next week.”
The Rams visit Central Connecticut State University this Saturday at 4 p.m. Rhode Island’s last meeting with the Blue Devils saw one of their best offensive outputs in years, winning 42-7.