URI Football Team Hoping To Keep Spring Momentum Going in Fall
RHODE ISLAND VS. BRYANT – SERIES NOTES
Saturday night’s season opener will be the second meeting between Rhode Island and Bryant.
The first came in 2002, a 28-0 victory for Rhody.
In that contest, freshman quarterback Jayson Davis rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut. Davis went on to score a program-record 256 points from 2002-05.
This year’s contest officially kicks off a 10-year series between the schools in which the teams will alternate home games.
It is the first time Rhode Island will open the season at home since 2010, when the Rams lost to Buffalo, 31-0.
Saturday is the first of back-to-back night games for Rhode Island. The Rams play at UAlbany on Sept 11 with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Those are the only two night games on the schedule.
This is the first of two games against in-state rivals. Rhode Island will play at Brown on Sept. 18.
Rhody’s third non-conference game is at FBS Massachusetts on Nov. 6.
RHODE ISLAND RECEIVES VOTES IN BOTH NATIONAL TOP 25 PRESEASON POLLS
Rhode Island’s performance in the abbreviated 2020-21 season was noticed, as URI received votes in both the STATS Perform FCS Top 25 and the AFCA FCS Top 25 preseason polls.
URI got 10 votes and placed 40th in the STATS Perform FCS Preseason Top 25.
The Rams earned four votes and were 47th in the AFCA FCS poll.
Last season, Rhode Island reached as high as No. 18 in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the team’s season.
Rhode Island is one of seven CAA Football teams in the STATS preseason poll.
No. 2 James Madison, No. 5 Delaware and No. 16 Villanova are all in the Top 25.
Richmond, New Hampshire, UAlbany and Rhode Island all received votes.
No. 2 James Madison, No. 5 Delaware, No. 15 Villanova and No. 22 Richmond were in the AFCA FCS Top 25.
UNH and Rhode Island were the CAA Football teams that also received votes.
FLEMING TIED FOR FOURTH LONGEST TENURE WITH RHODE ISLAND
Head coach Jim Fleming is in his eighth season at Rhode Island, tying him with Tim Stowers (1988-00) for the fourth-longest run at Rhode Island.
The only coaches to serve as head coach for URI longer were Frank Keaney (21 seasons from 1920-40), Bob Griffin (17 seasons from 1976-92) and Marshall Tyler (10 seasons from 1898-1908).
Tyler was the first coach in school history. There was a one-year gap in his tenure, as URI did not field a team in 1902.
Keaney – better known for his Basketball Hall of Fame coaching career – won 70 games with the football program. In addition to being known as the inventor of the fast break, he won 401 games with the Rhody basketball team.
Griffin won 79 games with URI, capturing Yankee Conference titles in 1981, 1984 and 1985.
FIVE All-Conference Players Return
Rhode Island’s 2021 roster includes five players who were part of the 2020-21 CAA Football All-Conference team.
Redshirt freshman running back Kevin Brown, Jr. was the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Fullback Joey Kenny earned first-team honors. Wide receiver Ivory Frimpong, guard Nick Correia and safety Coby Tippett were second teamers.
Brown opened his URI career with 141 yards and four touchdowns at No. 6 Villanova.
He finished the spring with 256 rushing yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Brown was the first URI player to win a major league award since Joe Casey was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in 2005.
Kenny has been a key blocker out of the backfield during 40 games over five years.
Frimpong was one of the breakout stars for Rhode Island last spring.
He led the team with 14 catches for 186 yards. His 4.7 catches per game ranked fourth in the league, and his 62.0 receiving yards were fifth best.
Correia has asserted himself as one of the best linemen in the league.
He has started 15 consecutive games at guard and is a big reason URI was fourth in the league with eight rushing touchdowns despite playing just three games.
Tippett made an immediate impact in his first season at URI, starting all three games at safety and had 10 tackles, three interceptions and four passes defended.
He was the CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week for the week of March 22.
It was the second straight all-conference nod for Tippett, who was a third-team selection while at Towson in 2019.