URI Opens Football Season With Upset of #6 Villanova
Rhode Island recorded its biggest win in more than a decade, knocking off No. 6 Villanova 40-37 in overtime Saturday afternoon.
The Rams (1-0, 1-0 CAA Football) scored 10 points in the final 3:37 of regulation to force overtime. Then, after Villanova (1-1, 1-1 CAA Football) got a field goal on the first possession of overtime, quarterback Kasim Hill ran it in from 2 yards out to give Rhode Island the victory.
For Rhode Island, it was the highest-ranked opponent the Rams have defeated since a 17-14 win over No. 3 Villanova on Nov. 6, 2010.
URI trailed 34-24 following a Villanova field goal with 11:50 to go in the fourth quarter. After the teams traded possessions, Rhode Island got a 46-yard pass play from Hill to Matt Pires to get into the Wildcats red zone. A 10-yard pass to Zoe Bryant, Jr. set up third-and-5 at the 8-yard line. Kevin Brown, Jr. ran for 3 yards, and then 4 more on fourth-and-2. Brown punched it in – his fourth rushing touchdown of the day – to get the Rams within 34-31.
The Ram defense came up with a three-and-out to get the ball back to the offense, starting at the Villanova 49-yard line. Hill hit Ed Lee for 12 yards, then again for a big 19-yard play on third-and-13. Hill ran twice for 11 yards, and Brown added a 5-yard gain to set up a 22-yard field goal from C.J. Carrick on the final play of regulation.
After Villanova got a field goal to start overtime, Hill connected with Ivory Frimpong for 23 yards on Rhode Island’s first snap. Two plays later, Hill’s touchdown run ended the contest and gave URI its first league win since the 2018 season finale against New Hampshire.
Inside the Box Score?
Redshirt freshman Kevin Brown had quite the debut for Rhode Island, rushing for 141 yards and four touchdowns.
The last time a URI player ran for four scores in a game was Jayson Davis at Fordham on Sept. 4, 2004.
Brown had a 61-yard run on the opening possession of the game,
Redshirt junior Kasim Hill was 18-for-28 for 246 yards in the pocket. He also ran for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Ivory Frimpong had a career day, catching eight passes for 122 yards, including the 23-yard grab to set up the winning score.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Ed Lee had six receptions in seven targets. He finished with 66 receiving yards.
Rhode Island’s offensive line was excellent, allowing just one sack in 29 drop backs. As a team, the Rams rushed for 234 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Right tackle Jordan Riendeau of Narragansett made his first career start.
Senior safety Coby Tippett had Rhody’s lone turnover on the day, picking off a pass in the end zone in the second quarter.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Evan Stewart had four tackles, including URI’s lone sack.
Redshirt junior cornerback Jordan Jones and redshirt sophomore linebacker Andre Johnson tied for team-high honors with five tackles each.
Jones also broke up two passes and nearly had an interception in the end zone.
Redshirt senior Andre Bibeault had three tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
The win was Rhode Island’s first over a Top 25 team since it beat No. 15 Delaware, 21-19, on Aug. 30, 2018.
?Rhode Island travels to Albany for a CAA Football contest on Saturday, March 20.