#18 URI Suffers First Loss of the Season in Home Opener against #11 Delaware
No. 18/21 Rhode Island suffered its first loss of the season, coming up short against a powerful No. 9/11 Delaware squad, 35-21, Saturday.
The visiting Blue Hens (3-0, 3-0 CAA Football) ran for 361 yards and three touchdowns, using its vaunted ground attack to control the clock. Dejoun Lee averaged 10 yards on 22 carries, finishing the day with 221 yards as the Rams could not slow him down.
Lee was on from the start, scoring on a 35-yard run on the game’s opening possession. Rhode Island (2-1, 2-1 CAA Football) responded with a touchdown of its own late in the first quarter when Brandon Robinson scored from 13 yards out on a quarterback keeper.
Delaware scored the next 21 points. While Rhode Island was able to stay within 14-7 by halftime, the Blue Hens controlled the third quarter. Quarterback Nolan Henderson hit tight end Bryce De Maille for a 22-yard touchdown pass and then wide receiver Thyrick Pitts from 4 yards out to make it a 28-7 score.
Just before the end of the third quarter, wide receiver Ed Lee gave Rhody a spark, taking a pass 62 yards down to the Delaware 1-yard line. Robinson scored on a 1-yard plunge for his second touchdown of the day to make it a two-score game.
URI’s defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Delaware drive, but it was unable to maintain the momentum. After a punt of its own, the Rams could only watch as Lee broke off a 74-yard touchdown run to seemingly ice the game.
The Rams managed one more touchdown drive, as freshman Jamall Mensah caught a 5-yard pass from Kasim Hill to finish the scoring on the day with little more than three minutes to go.
Inside the Box Score?
Delaware had 551 yards of total offense, compared to 221 for Rhode Island. It helped the Blue Hens to 41:34 minutes of possession.
Two of Delaware’s five touchdowns came on fourth-down situations. The opening drive score was a Dejoun Lee 35-yard run on fourth-and-2, and in the third quarter, Bryce De Maille’s 22-yard touchdown catch came on fourth-and-1.
Rhode Island quarterback Brandon Robinson saw his most extensive action of the season, rushing for 43 yards on nine carries and completing 3-of-6 for 85 passing yards.
He scored two of Rhode Island’s three touchdowns.
Redshirt junior Ed Lee’s 62-yard reception was the longest of his career. He was stopped just shy of the goal line on the play and suffered an injury that knocked him out of the game.
Junior tight end Caleb Warren had four catches for 44 yards.
Freshman Jamall Mensah caught the first two passes of his career, including a 5-yard touchdown.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Brown, Jr. averaged 4.2 yards per carry against the stout Delaware defense that had allowed just three points total in its first two games of the year. Brown finished with 67 yards on 16 carries.
Senior linebacker Andre Blackett led the defense with a career-high 14 tackles, while redshirt junior safety Henry Yianakopolos added 10 stops.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chris Arrington set up Rhode Island’s final score of the game with an interception that he returned 49 yards. He nearly took it back all the way but was just tripped up at the Delaware 22-yard line.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jarrett Martin had two tackles for loss, including his second sack in as many weeks.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Evan Stewart had seven tackles, including his second second of the season. Stewart also broke up a pass.
Rhode Island is back at home when it hosts New Hampshire on Saturday, April 3. Game time is 1:05 p.m.