What a difference a year makes. Last year Rhode Island went up to Harvard Stadium and had their teeth kicked in losing 51-21. On Saturday however, the Rams came out looking to avenge their blowout loss to the Crimson and did just that. URI took down Harvard thanks to a stifling defense and a couple big plays from Tyler Harris and company.
It was a beautiful day in Kingston this past Saturday as the Harvard Crimson took on the Rhode Island Rams. It was the fourth time these two schools squared off with the first meeting dating back to 1923 when the Crimson won 35-0 and have beaten URI everytime since.
On the first drive of the day for the Crimson ended with a 38-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead over Rhody.The Rams didn’t get onto the board until the start of the 2nd quarter when QB Tyler Harris connected with sophomore receiver Aaron Parker for a 51 yard score to pull ahead 7-3.
That marked Parker’s fifth straight game with a touchdown catch, the most since Bobby Apgar caught a TD pass in six consecutive games in 1995. Parker also had his first career 100 yard game.
URI added a field goal on their next possession increasing their lead to 10-3. Harvard responded with a touchdown tying up the game at ten a piece, but that’s all the points they would get for the day.
URI scored the game winning touchdown with when Tyler Harris led Rhode Island 69 yards down the field, capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown rush with 1:46 remaining in the half.
Rhode Island and Harvard held each other scoreless in the second half. Both forced one turnover a piece in the fourth quarter.
Harvard threw a prayer into the endzone on the final play of the game from the URI 25 yard line but QB Joe Viviano’s final pass of the day went out the back of the endzone and gave URI the first win of the year and first win over Harvard.
When speaking on what the win means for the program, Fleming said, “This was a significant win because of the timing. We have been working our tails off trying to turn this program into a winning team”.
URI’s defense gave up 398 total yards to the Crimson, with 206 of them coming on the ground. URI racked up a total of 383 yards and was able to get the running game going after being absent against Stony Brook with 148 yards.
QB Tyler Harris had a great game completing 12 of 19 passing and racking up 235 yards and two total touchdowns, one on the ground and through the air.
“I thought he played well and didn’t make any mistakes,” Fleming said. “It was a very balanced attack and got timely hits.”
The real story for URI in this game was their defense who played lights out in the second half. A big part of that defense was senior Jose Duncan who tallied two sacks marking his fourth-career multi-sack game as well as his second of the season.
“We have a special defense that’s played a lot of football together,” Duncan said after the game.
A scary moment in the second quarter when Harvard freshman cornerback, Ben Abercrombie, hit Rams wide receiver Marven Beauvais along the side line and collapsed immediately. Abercrombie lied on the ground for ten minutes before being carried out on backboard.
Coach Fleming added after the game, “Our prevalent thoughts on the game is on Ben Abercrombie and our hope for his speedy recovery.”
The Rams will go on the road for three straight weeks facing New Hampshire, Brown and ending with Maine before coming back home on October 21 to face Elon.
Finally Fleming had this to say about what’s next for Rhody football, “We have a competitive, good football team that will only get better.”