URI Wraps Up Spring Practice With Game Saturday
University of Rhode Island Press Release
KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island’s defense was victorious in the annual Blue-White Game as the Rams closed out Spring Camp Saturday at Meade Stadium. Using a modified scoring system, the defense won the game, 49-35.
“We were looking to play 60 snaps, which is right where we wound up,” Rhode Island head coach Jim Fleming said. “We wanted to see competitiveness on both sides of the ball, and I think that showed up. There was a big turnover by the defense, and a couple of explosion plays on offense, so it all kind of balances out.”
The teams played two 12-minute quarters. With several starters on both sides of the ball unavailable due to injuries, depth was limited.
It was the offense that shined early. Quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward was 3-for-3 for 61 yards and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Paul Woods on his first turn with the offense. Running back Jaylen Smith broke off the longest play from scrimmage when he burst through a hole on the left side of the line and took it 50 yards for a touchdown.
The defense dominated the second quarter. The unit had three sacks and an interception while blanking the offense over the final handful of possessions.
“We got off to a bit of a slow start, but the guys kept playing,” defensive coordinator Jack Cooper said. “They stayed with it, and you saw a snowball affect. They made one play, and guys got excited. It turned into two and three plays. They did a good job of staying with the process and making the plays the way they were called.”
- Running back Jaylen Smith rushed for 60 yards on six attempts, including a 50-yard touchdown run.
- Quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward was 5-for-7 for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
- Quarterback Jackson Burkhalter was 4-of-8 for 37 yards.
- Tight end Brady Roark made two big plays in the passing game. He caught the longest pass play of the day with a 30-yard grab, and he later added a 27-yard catch.
- Wide receivers Jamall Mensah and Ed Lee each had 26-yard receptions.
- Linebackers Henry Yianakopolos and Johnny Alvarado each had 4.5 tackles and one tackle for loss each.
- Defensive tackle Westley Neal, Jr. had 3.5 tackles and also blocked a field goal on special teams.
- Linebacker Cole Brockwell had 3.5 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and one sack.
- Linebacker Gabe Salomons and cornerback Arthur White each had one sack.
- Safety Emmanuel Gomes had three tackles and a pair of pass break ups.
- Linebacker Michael Strachan had the lone turnover of the day, an interception.
Team Awards Announced
Following the Blue-White Game, the team held its annual team awards banquet. The award winners were as follows:
2021-22 Program Award Winners
Captains Award – Andre Bibeault and Sebastian Delasoudas
A.A Savastano Scholar-Athlete Award – John Erby
Awarded to a member of the football team for his outstanding academic achievement
Bruce E. Murray Award – Matt Pires
Awarded to a member of the football team for being a consummate team player
Bob Griffin Award – Andre Bibeault
Awarded to a member of the football team who displays both high character and exemplary
Justin Henry Award – Lorenzo Thompson
Awarded to a member of the football team who has excels both academically and athletically
Iron Ram Award – Joey Kenny
Awarded to a member of the football team whose year round commitment to the weight room
served to motivate all of his teammates
Anchor Award – Henry Yianakopolos and Caleb Warren
Offensive Player of the Year – Kasim Hill
Defensive Player of the Year – L.B. Mack III and Andre Blackett
Special Teams Player of the Year – Coby Tippett
Spring Camp Awards
Most Improved Offensive Player – Rocco Cillino
Most Improved Defensive Player – Cole Brockwell