Rams 28 - Wildcats 25

 

 

(Special to PhotoSports.Com - Nick Murgo)    September 18, 2010.    The URI Rams Football team took on the number six team in the country at Meade Field in Kingston. The rams were coming off a tough last play loss at Fordham University, while the Wildcats were returning to conference play after being defeated by Pittsburgh.  Rhode Island drew the first score after a recovered 56 yard punt by Tim Edger of the Rams put the ball on the UNH 6 yard line.  The UNH defense held, and URI had to settle for 3 points with a 20 yard fg by Louis Feinstein.

 

This set the tone for the rest of the quarter; Rhody was unable to get anything going, while UNH ran up two consecutive touch downs followed by a two point - "in your face" conversion giving the Wildcats an apparently insurmountable 16-3 lead.  New Hampshire fans were shouting things like "Did you send out your rugby teams? "  One band member actually said, "I am going to get sick and tired of playing our fight song as we score all day long."  UNH players were also giving high 5's and acting like the score was 56-0 in the 4th quarter.  It was then that the Rams came alive. 

 

Like a waking monster, hungry for its first good meal in years, the defense took up the challenge to their pride with an intense effort that hasn't been seen in many, many games at home.  Yes, of course this was a total team victory, but going in to this game, the defense had more to prove than any other part of the team.  And prove themselves, they did and more.  As told to this reporter on media day by sack master, Victor Adesanya, "We will make our name on defense this year."  With five sacks for 39 yards of loss, and bone crushing hits, the Rhody defensive unit definitely made their presence known to the fans and opposition alike. 

 

With the Rhody behind by a score of 25 - 21, UNH had taken over at the 4:30 mark in the 4th qtr.  Three plays later UNH had a first down at the URI 45.  Then URI's db, Matt Hansen took down the UNH running back for a 1 yard loss, timeout URI.  On 2nd down, Harris threw the QB, R.J. Toman (31 for 59 with 284 yds passing) for a 5yard loss, again URI time out.  Then with 2:23 remaining, Toman went back to pass and Adesanya, and company, put on big rush, with Adesanya slipping around the of tackle and reaching out for the sack/fumble.  In the post game interviews, he credited his coaches for advising him to go high on the tackle and then slip around, while at the same time going for the ball.  With lightning speed, he wrapped up Toman's arms after first knocking out the ball which then went loose on the turf.  Seeing the ball rolling around on the ground #96 James Timmins, reached down, scooped up the ball on the run, fought to keep his balance, and then strode toward the end zone in Heisman fashion to the total stun of the UNH team and the total elation of the URI fans and team.  Excessive celebration resulted in a 20 yard kick-off penalty giving the Wildcats another chance to even the score with a field goal or a touch down for the win.  With 2 minutes and 3 time outs left, UNH had great field position on their own 48.  Those of us having attended many football games at Meade were less than sold on the final outcome than the celebratory Rams.  However, this team would refuse to have the ghosts of the past affect their final 2 minutes of play.  It was senior (Mt Hope High School Bristol/Warren RI graduate) Matt Urban who picked off the final UNH pass of the game at the URI 24.  The defense had a 3 and 4 man rush the last two minutes while the secondary spread themselves all over the field, coming up to make the hits forcing UNH to take timeouts and ultimately to commit their second and final turnover of the game.

 

The Rams offense had 18 first downs against UNH 19, and passing yards of 78 and rushing yards of 215 for a total of 69 plays and 293 yards.  The entire team played a very smart and clean game with only 4 penalties for 30 yards v. UNH's 11 penalties for 113 yards.  At least 4 times, URI's senior center, Dave Valley (East Providence Townies) snapped the ball "early" catching the defense in the neutral zone for important 5 yard penalties.  QB, Steve Probst  (transfer Hofstra University) executed the game calls with great decision making, the offensive line gave him great protection giving up only 1 sack.  Probst set up a score for RI in the second qtr with a mad 56 yard rush to the UNH 6 yard line which ended with another Feinstein field goal, bringing the Rams to a three point deficit at the end of the first half, (15-13).  There were many excellent big plays in this game, neither team had a distinct advantage, both played with intensity and desire and excellent sportsmanship.  Plays were made with good coverage by defensive backs on both teams, there were few if any "give away blown coverage plays", everything was earned on both sides of the ball.  For the 1800 fans in attendance, this was a game that made believers of the URI 2010 football team.  Don't miss the next home game against Brown for the Governor's Cup.

 

 

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UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND v. University of New Hampshire Football 2010

RAMS Win Conference Opener

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Photos by Nick Murgo

 

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Photos by Nick Murgo