It was an emotional, nerve-racking game for fans, but the Rhode Island Rams pulled out a gritty 19-13 overtime win over the Albany Great Danes last night. The win ended a number of streaks for the Rams, including a 15-game losing streak and a 14-game road losing streak. The talk of those can finally end, as Rhody moves to 1-2 on the season and 1-1 in the CAA. Instead of wondering “if” URI will win a game this season, the discussion can now shift to “how many”. If Rhody continues to play like they did last night, the answer to that question could be “quite a few”. Let’s take a look at the ups and downs of last night’s big win.
The most encouraging bit to come out of the road victory was the Rhode Island defense. The Rams played spectacularly in the first half, and although they ran into a bit of trouble in the final 30 minutes of regulation, they were able to bend but not break. The 13 points allowed was a season low, and URI was able to force a season-high three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception) in the process. Rhody also excelled on special teams, coming up with both a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point. Not only did both of those plays play a huge role in the final outcome, but defensive lineman Josh Moody recording both of the blocks. Moody also recorded a sack and a forced fumble as part of an unbelievable game for the senior.
In addition to the three takeaways on the evening, the Rams failed to turn the ball over themselves, good for a +3 margin. The Rhody running game also saw a big-time revival, but it was from an unlikely source. Senior transfer Justin Semmes led all URI rushers with 73 yards on the ground, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Between Semmes, Sebastian, and Delgado, Rhode Island has a solid corps of running backs for the 2013 season. Add in Bob Bentsen’s ability to rack up yards on the ground and it gives opposing teams a lot to game-plan for. Rhody’s punting game also saw vast improvement, with Anthony DiPaula taking over the duties full-time. The transfer from Rutgers averaged 40 yards per punt, including a long of 57 and three downed inside the 20.
In terms of negatives, there’s really not all that much. URI fans will likely cite the lack of being able to close out a 13-0 second-half lead in regulation, but this is the CAA, folks. There are no gimmes. A win is a win, and the Rams will happily take this one. Rhode Island will try to put together a winning streak (!!!) next weekend when they head to Virginia to take on William and Mary.