How it Happened
Rhode Island turned the ball over five times – including a stretch of four straight first-half possessions – as the Rams fell at No. 19 Richmond 37-0 Saturday.
Despite the score, the Rams (0-7, 0-3 CAA Football) once again got a strong effort from its defense. During the first-half stretch in which the Rhode Island turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions, the defense limited Richmond to just nine points. Though the work of the defense kept the Rams in the game, the Spiders (5-2, 2-1 CAA Football) steadily built its lead.
After a Rhody field goal attempt was blocked in the first quarter, Richmond drove 80 yards in seven plays for the first points of the game. Michael Rocco hit Reggie Diggs for a 38-yard score on fourth-and-5. One play earlier, Rocco hit Brian Brown for 24 yards on a third-and-30 play to set up the score.
Turnovers on each of Rhode Island’s next two possessions led to a pair of Richmond field goals as the Spiders opened a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. From there, the Spiders controlled the pace of play, holding the ball for 21:12 in the first half as they went into the break up 23-0.
Inside the Box Score
The opening quarter featured a blocked punt by Rhode Island’s Romeo Masuku and a blocked field goal by Richmond’s Winston Craig. Masuku’s blocked punt was the first by a Ram since Willie McGinnis blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown against Villanova Nov. 6, 2010.
Freshman running back Harold Cooper had 163 all-purpose yards, making him the first Ram this season to reach 100 yards in a game. Cooper had 98 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards and 24 kick return yards. Cooper also had a 56-yard run in the first half, Rhode Island’s longest running play since a 60-yard run by Deontray Johnson against Delaware on Oct. 22, 2011.
Defensive end Jose Duncan and linebacker Derrick Holmes each made their first career start. Duncan finished the game with six tackles, two tackles for loss and the first two career sacks.
Defensive backs Abdul Ibrahim, Dunston Payne and Myles Holmes each broke up two passes. Ibrahim also had a team-high eight tackles.
Holmes now has nine pass break-ups this season.
Freshman Marcus Pantoja had three tackles, including one for a loss. Pantoja also broke up one pass.
Redshirt junior safety Tim Wienclaw had seven tackles, including one for a loss.
Redshirt junior Kolt Peavey came on in the second half and was 9-of-14 for 91 yards.
Quarterback James Caparell made his first career start. Rhode Island has now had 41 different players start at least one game this season.
For the second straight week, Rhode Island converted a fake punt when Connor McHugh took the snap and ran 9 yards on fourth-and-4 from the Richmond 40 in the first quarter.
Richmond ran 72 plays on offense, compared to 58 for Rhode Island.
Rhode Island has trailed by at least 30 points in five of its seven games this season.
Stat of the Game
5 – Rhode Island threw five interceptions.
The Rams return home to host Maine in its Homecoming Game Saturday, Oct. 25.