Photo Gallery - For Rhode Island fans who could not make or see the game against Connecticut I have posted the below photo gallery.  Click the thumbnail below to see the full size images.

University of Rhode Island 7-
Connecticut 52

August 30, 2006


Nick Murgo /

Commentary -
  The Rhode Island Rams played a very good game against a physically bigger and faster UConn Husky team.  This was a known going in.  What we didn't know was the strength of the Rams at key positions.  From what I saw, I am greatly encouraged as to the future success of this team.  Yes, we made a few mistakes, but overall we played a sound game and we didn't beat ourselves, we simply played a very good division IA team.  It must have been a great experience for the players overall, playing in front of 35,000 screaming fans, under the lights, in a great stadium.  What could be better?

For starters, Rhode Island recovered an onside kick by Joe Bellini.  We blocked a punt.  We put together a 77 yard scoring drive capped by a great pass and reception TD.  I am trying not to single anyone out in particular, but I was impressed by the kick off returns that featured Raji El-Amin and the punt returns and catches.  The time of possession and number of first downs was comparable to the Huskies.  Although our secondary was beaten at times, still there was a noticeable improvement over last year.  The man on coverage definitely is a step in the right direction.  Then too, the defense held three consecutive downs on the goal line, each time stuffing one of the premier running backs that UConn features.  Yes, the Huskies did score on fourth down, but the strength of the D Line and LB's was very impressive, Dan Heffron, Nick Levy, David Wilson, Paul Vellano, Dana Hart, Kirk Blackmon. The Rams defense "got" to the ball, it took more than one hit to bring down the Husky RB's.  Adrian Ownen, Raquan Pride, and Virgil Gray and the rest of the secondary came up often to finish the tackle.  The Rams kicking game was also impressive with excellent punts and coverage was mostly better than last year.  I see lots of promise in this Rams team.  There were a few delay of game and procedure calls that should not happen in the following weeks, but overall the team played very clean.  Let's face it, holding can be called at will every play - who gets called and when is still a mystery to me.  I see it all the time in the photos, like our DE being held and then wrestled to the ground by UConn's  6'7" 330 lb tackle.   So it goes. As for turnovers, there were two "meaningless" pass interceptions, we do need to hold on to the ball better and that will come.  Marcel Roberson caught a nice opening pass, he was hit really hard by two defenders but he hung on.   Later Nick Del Grosso went up for a TD reception between two defenders, connecting on a lofty pass thrown by Derek Cassidy.  Cassidy showed good poise and control running the option and throwing the ball.  Jimmy Hughes ran shifty and hard breaking one run for 25 yards. Mark Stolte, Antal Keszthely, Steve Moll, Shamel Lewis, Fran Dempsey, and Damien Gresko provided the blocking up front for the offense which generated almost 300 yards.

The A-10 is a very tough and competitive league.  Many of the teams played outstanding DI teams for their opening games.  Rhode Island will definitely be competitive in this league and the outcome of each game will depend on one or two plays.  The score says that Rhody took a  lick'in but the list of players who participated in the game covers almost the entire roster which means the Rams picked up a lot of battle experience.  The Huskies used this game to get up to game speed and prepare for Wake Forest.  Rhode Island will have to do the same to its next opponent, Merrimack College before they can begin to prepare for the Delaware Blue Hens at Meade on September 23rd.  BE THERE! 


Below photos by Dom Murgo, Nick Murgo 2006
Click the thumbnail below to see the full size images.

Defense Holds On Third Down

Rhody's defense put up three consecutive stops on the goal line before CT headed off tackle for the TD.

David Wilson

Rhode Island native David Wilson puts the pressure on CT's D.J. Hernandez

Virgil Gray Blocks The Punt

CB Virgil Gray comes off the corner to block Ct.punt at close of second qtr.


Rhody's Cheerleaders made the trip along with about a thousand Rhode Island fans.


Joe Bellini recovered the onside opening kick off and he didn't give it up until he was up with it, as the next picture shows.

Pass Protection

Steve Moll #71 and Shamel Lewis #72 are featured in this picture of the Rams providing Cassidy with pass protection.

Running Low

Marcel Roberson converted from QB to A Back, he did a fantastic job catching and running with the ball.

Virgil Playing Man On

Virgil Gray broke up this pass play.

Not Holding?

Rhode Island #55 Chad Waltrip is given a neck hold on this play, I thought this was holding?

Sideline Instructions

Associate Head Coach Harold Nichols gives Derek Cassidy and Nick Del Grosso instructions for the next play which was a touchdown.

Opening The Hole

Center Steve Moll leads the offensive line forward.

Iron Men

These are the men who hit low and pushed CT back for three consecutive plays on the goal line.

Not This Time!

The DB's got into the act on the following play to again stop cold the Husky's running back.

Del Grosso

Nick Del Grosso with the high vertical jump and excellent hands brings down the ball and he held on for the TD.

Interior Blocking

Mark Stolte and #60 Antal Keszthelyi provide interior blocking for the run option.

DE Pressure

#95 Co Captain Dan Heffron applies the pressure after beating his man (the biggest OT on earth). Net loss on this play leading to a 4th down punt.

Dragged Down

Adrian Owen was the leading tackler for the Rams.

Derek Cassidy

Cassidy passed for 95 yards against an aggressive Husky attack and quick DB's. The passing helped the running game and the Rams put up 293 yards of net offense.

Plenty of Returns

Raji El-Amin had plenty of practice returning kick offs this week. He fielded the ball and ran back hard while keeping the ball off of the turf.

Punting Game

Bryan Giannecchini had a terrific night of punting, often sending the Husky receiver back pedaling as the ball sailed over his head. Good blocking and no miscues. Special teams had a good game.



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