Football opens home slate with historic win in front of sold-out crowd

The University of Rhode Island Rams football team opened up their conference schedule with a win over the Stony Brook University Seawolves, in the program’s first ever Friday night game by a score of 35-14. 

The Rams made their Friday night lights game a matchup to remember for their fans, with a dominant win over a storied rival. 

On the opening drive of the game, Stony Brook’s quarterback Casey Case was intercepted on a deep pass by Rhody sixth-year Safety Jordan Colbert. Colbert tracked the ball out of Case’s hand as he attempted to go deep down the middle of the field for a big pickup, but instead Colbert came down with the ball. 

 “It all starts with my teammates,” Colbert said. “Pre-snap they told me it was coming so I was ready for it, and when it came I just trusted my athletic ability and went up and grabbed it.” 

 With the Rams on offense for the first time just 2:44 into the game, seventh-year quarterback Kasim Hill led a long drive of over five minutes. Highlighted by a one handed catch from fifth-year Darius Savedge that went for 19 yards and got the Rams into the red zone, the drive was eventually capped off by a 13 yard receiving touchdown from Hill to Savedge to open the scoring. The Rams made the lead 7-0 with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter following the point after touchdown (PAT) from kicker Dylan Shank. 

The Seawolves responded quickly with an almost five minute, nine play, 77 yard drive. SBU running back Johnny Martin III scored the touchdown on the drive and kicker Spencer Biscoe made the PAT to knot the game at seven apiece with 1:21 remaining in the opening quarter. 

On the following Rhode Island drive, Rams wide receivers fifth-year Kahtero Summers and third-year Jamall Mensah dropped back to back passes on second and third down, forcing the Rams to punt the ball away. The first quarter ended with a score of 7-7, following the punt and one play by the Seawolves. 

Stony Brook started with the ball in the second quarter, went three and out and punted the ball directly back to the Rams.  

Hill found Summers over the middle of the field on the first play of the ensuing drive and the wideout took it 70 yards to the Stony Brook four yard line, setting the Rams up deep in the red zone. On the next play, second-year running back Jaden Griffin punched it into the endzone for the score to make the lead 14-7 in favor of Rhode Island after the PAT. 

The Rams earned the ball back with 11:26 to play in the second quarter after another SBU three and out, and on just the third play of the drive, Hill found first-year wide receiver Marquis Buchanan for a 70 yard touchdown. 

The touchdown was the second 70 yard play of the half from the Rams, both being passes over the middle from Hill to a wideout. Buchanan had a 101 yard day against Georgia State the week prior as he continued to make his mark on the Rams offense. Shank made the PAT to extend the Rams lead to 21-7 with 10:02 to play in the half. 

With 1:01 remaining in the half and Rhode Island on defense, Colbert picked up a loose fumble on the Stony Brook 49 yard line and brought it to the house for a Rams score. The fumble was the second takeaway of the game for Colbert, who ran it in for a touchdown to extend the Rams lead to 28-7 following the PAT. 

Once Colbert saw the play developing he knew what to do and credited his coaches for the way they teach the team to play. 

“They ran a screen and I saw the ball come out,” Colbert said. “I was running to make the tackle and I saw the ball on the ground and our coaches always teach us to finish the play.”

At the end of the first half, the Rams held the 28-7 lead and had looked comfortable since allowing the first score to Stony Brook. Rhody forced two takeaways in the first half, both by Colbert. The Rams held Case to just 78 passing yards in the first half while Hill had 243 yards and two touchdowns for Rhode Island. 

After an uneventful third quarter with neither team putting points on the board, the Rams still led by a score of 28-7 going into the final 15 minutes of play.

Hill left the game with an injury at 10:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, ending his day with 299 yards passing while going 17-25. 

Hill joked about the injury postgame.

“I thought it would be a good time to hang out with [head coach] Flem[ing],” Hill said.

Quarterback Devin Farrell came into the game to replace Hill, and led the Rams into the red zone. Once in the red zone, fifth-year running back Ja’Den McKenzie scored an 18 yard rushing touchdown to extend the Rams lead to 28 after the PAT. With 8:21 remaining in the game, Rhode Island led Stony Brook 35-7 and had all but put the game away.

Following the Rhode Island score, Stony Brook drove down the field and scored one of their own to cut the lead back to 21. Case threw a 16 yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to wide receiver Jaden Cook as they looked to get back in the game down 35-14 with 3:02 remaining. 

The Rams held on to the lead and defeated Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) rival Stony Brook by a score of 35-14. 

Hill described what having a sell out crowd does for the team.

“We could feel the energy,” he said. “I think that definitely played a part.”

The Rams are now 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the CAA and will face another CAA rival in the University of Maine on Friday in Orono at 6:30 P.M.