URI Football Improves To #17 in Country, AJ Pena Named CAA Rookie of the Week

Rhode Island freshman linebacker A.J. Pena has been named the CAA Football Rookie of the Week following his explosive performance at Bryant on Saturday.

The Branchburg, N.J. native recorded six tackles, including 3.5 sacks, to help Rhode Island defeat the Bulldogs 35-21 in Week 2. Pena led a defensive effort that saw the Rams set a program record with 10 sacks in the game. His 3.5 sacks are tied for the second most in a game in program history, trailing only a four-sack performance by LaJhon Jones against Brown in 1997.

All of Pena’s sacks came in the second half, when URI held Bryant to negative-15 rushing yards and just 108 total yards of offense.

Pena is the first Ram to garner a weekly league honor this season. He is the fifth different active member of the team to earn a weekly honor. Defensive tackle Westley Neal, Jr. was the Rookie of the Week for the week of Sept. 13 last season. Punter Davey Schaum-Bartocci and running back Kevin Brown, Jr. each won a weekly honor in the Spring 2021 season, while safety Malik Gavek took home Defensive Player of the Week honors for the week of Nov. 4, 2019.

Rhode Island hosts Delaware Saturday afternoon in the team’s home opener. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Categories: Sports