Rhody Football sees a silver lining after winning against Brown and receiving the Governor’s Cup. Photo contributed GoRhody.com

Rams take down Bears 31-28 to keep the Cup in Kingston

Sometimes, it’s good when you don’t have to share nice things. 

That’s the mood around the University of Rhode Island football team, as they retained the Governor’s Cup in a 31-27 win over in state rival Brown University. The victory was the team’s first win of the year, and only the 12th time in history the Rams have defended the cup. 

It was almost the same-old story for Rhody, as the team once again found themselves in a trailing position after playing well throughout the game. They were up 24-14 entering the fourth quarter, but Allen Smith’s third touchdown of the game put Brown up by four points with 8:20 remaining on the game clock. 

That’s when the offense went to work. 

Quarterback Vito Priore led a six play, 63-yard drive in just 2:30 to give his team the lead for good. He first found stud receiver Aaron Parker for a modest eight-yard gain, and then found fellow wide receiver Isaiah Coulter for a 28-yard play. On third down and nine from the Brown 26-yard-line, Ahmere Dorsey clawed his way for a first down. The drive culminated in a 14-yard touchdown from Priore to Parker, a play the pair had ran before. 

“I just found some one-on-one room and me and Vito run that play all the time after practice,” said Parker.  “He knows where to put it and I know where he’s gonna put it. We have some good camaraderie together.”

The touchdown was number 27 of Parker’s career, putting him third all-time on the schools career receiving list. The senior wide receiver now has 42 catches for 682 yards and six touchdowns through five games.

Brown got the ball back, but decided to punt with 4:20 remaining on the game clock after their drive stalled. The Rams were able to run out the clock, demonstrating late-game execution that had been lacking this season. 

“We were able to close out the game just the way we wanted,” said Head Coach Jim Fleming. “We were able to run the football, and we were able to pick up first downs.”

Rhody has played Brown 104 times since 1909, and not many wide receivers have played the Bears as well as Isaiah Coulter did this past weekend. The junior set career highs in single-game catches and receiving yards, finishing with 12 grabs and 171 yards. His touchdown catch in the first quarter was the second one of his career against Bruno. 

Rhode Island, who won this matchup 48-0 last year, were given all they could handle by new Brown quarterback EJ Perry. Perry finished with 420 passing yards and 92 rushing yards in his Governor’s Cup debut, becoming the first player all season to account for over 500 yards of total offense against the Rams. 

“That quarterback is a dynamic player,” Fleming said after the game. “I’m glad we won’t have to worry about EJ Perry for another year.”

Priore made sure that both quarterbacks would fill up the statsheet. The redshirt junior again picked apart the Brown defense, where last season he threw for 310 and four touchdowns in his first collegiate start. Saturday he threw for even more yards, going for 389 and three touchdowns. His performance earned him Conference Offensive Player of the Week. 

Head Coach James Perry is in his first year as Brown’s Head Coach, and his new-school style of offense created havoc for the Rams. Brown had completions to nine different recievers, and ran 76 plays despite having the ball for less time than Rhode Island. The team was also extremely proactive in going for fourth downs, at one point going for a fourth down and four from their 33-yard line down seven points midway through the second quarter. 

“They got a lot of guts in the way they approach the game,” said Fleming. 

Up next for the Rams is a trip to ACC opponent Virginia Tech, where the team figures to be heavy underdogs against the Hokies. The game is set to kickoff at 4 p.m.