Well, that didn’t take long, did it?
Rhode Island matched its entire win total from a year ago on Saturday afternoon when the Rams stunned No. 18 Albany 17-10 in overtime. The win was a historic one for the program, marking just the second time in the Rams’ history they’ve beaten ranked teams in back-to-back weeks after winning an overtime thriller over Villanova last weekend.
Rhode Island (2-0) head coach Jim Fleming spoke earlier this week about how important it is to finish games, something the 2091 struggled with quite a bit.
““We had a tough go in 2019 closing things out,” Fleming said last week following the win over the Wildcats. “It was nice to be able to start this year off with a good victory. We were able to get two three-and-outs at the end of the game which is what our games came down to in 2019. Those kinds of wins are critically important to establish a path going forward.”
It seems as if his guys have heard him loud and clear as the Rams once again found a way to get it done late.
The defense played a key role in the low scoring affair as well, with senior Coby Tippett hauling in two picks and red shirt freshman Antonio Carter II grabbing his first ever collegiate interception. The Rams D held Albany to just 83 yards rushing and 5/14 on third downs. Offensively, Kasim Hill threw for 117 yards a touchdown and a pick, but he also had the game-winning touchdown run in overtime.
Albany grabbed a 7-0 lead in the first on a Mohammed Jabbie 8-yard TD reception. Rhode Island cut it to 7-2 with the Great Danes pinned deep as Jarrett Martin came flying inside on a blitz and recorded a sack in the end zone.
The Rams led 10-7 at the half thanks to a 7-yard touchdown reception from Ivory Frimpong with 5:36 left in the second quarter. A 35-yard field goal for Dylan Burns with just 2:20 left in the third tied the game at 10-10. Albany had an opportunity to win the game in regulation with the ball at midfield and the clock ticking down, but Tippett’s second interception on the day gave the Rams new life in overtime.
Hill wasted little time putting Rhode Island up 17-10, taking the very first snap of the first extra frame into the end zone from 25-yards out. The Great Danes – despite racking up 300 yards of offense and holding the ball for 46 minutes of possession time – could never get anything going in the red zone on Saturday and it came back to bite them in overtime. The Rams defense stood tall on Karl Mofor rushing attempts until one final Jeff Undercluffer pass fell incomplete on 4th down and Rhode Island stormed the field.
They don’t ask how you obtain wins in college football, just how many. Right now, Rhode Island has two thrilling wins and if there was any doubt whether or not this season would be much different for Fleming and his program amongst all the uncertainty, I think it’s pretty clear what that answer now is.
The Rams will have another huge test next weekend when Delaware visits Rhode Island for the first Rams home game in far too long.