The Rhode Island Rams had more chances in this one than the final score indicates, but the end result was a 35-13 loss to the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens this afternoon at Meade Stadium. Rhody made four trips into the UD red zone but were only able to convert two of them into points in what turned out to be a very frustrating day. Mix in several big offensive plays for the Blue Hens and it was a recipe for defeat. The loss now drops URI to 3-6 on the season and 2-4 in the CAA, while Delaware improves to 6-2 (3-1).
Rhody started the game strong as senior Mackenzie Elliott returned the opening kickoff 82 yards down to the Blue Hens’ 16 yard line. A horse-collar penalty was tacked on to the end of the play and the Rams were in business at the UD eight yard line for their first offensive series. But the strong start was short-lived. Robbie Delgado fumbled on Rhode Island’s second play from scrimmage, ending URI’s massive thread following a Delaware recovery. A pair of punts from each team set the Blue Hens up at their own 44 yard line, and QB Trent Hurley went to work. A 48-yard bomb to Michael Johnson on second down set UD up with first and goal at the two yard line, and they didn’t miss their chance. Running back Andrew Pierce took it to the house to give his team a 7-0 lead.
The Rams answered back in the second quarter when Bob Bentsen found Robbie Jackson for a 20-yard touchdown strike, but a fumbled snap on the extra point kept the score at 7-6 Blue Hens. Delaware started their next drive at their own two yard line and thinks were looking good for URI. But Hurley was able to take his team 98 yards down the field, culminating in a 19-yard TD pass to Nick Boyle. Pierce tacked on another short TD run before the half to make things 21-6 Delaware at the break.
The second half saw Rhody fall victim to the big play once again. Pierce took the first Delaware play from scrimmage 75 yards for the rushing touchdown to put his squad up 28-6. URI answered back later in the third quarter thanks to a short TD run from Robbie Delgado and the Rams weren’t out of it just yet. Following an interception by Andre Scott, the Rams were in position to climb back into this one, but a bad snap on a fake field goal attempt resulted in Rhode Island coming up empty-handed. A 78-yard TD tun from Delaware’s Johnson on an end-around made the score 35-13 and that was all she wrote.
Bad snaps, big plays, and failed fourth downs (the Rams were just 1-5) all played a part in today’s homecoming game loss. It’s also worth noting that Rhody struggled with penalties the first time this season. Normally a disciplined team, Joe Trainer watched his crew hand over three free first downs to UD by way of a penalty. Sloppy sloppy sloppy all around. URI has just three more games left in the 2013 season, but we’ll have more on this one tomorrow before we move on to the November slate.