UAlbany Dominated Early, Fall to Rhode Island 45-26

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

UAlbany’s conference opener against Rhode Island came with the hope that the Great Danes would build on the confidence they obtained against Pitt. Unfortunately, that momentum came to a crashing halt as the Rams overwhelmed the Great Danes to a 45-26 victory.

The turning point of the game would come on the Great Danes’ second possession. With UAlbany driving, QB Vincent Testaverde completed a pass to WR Dev Holmes, who attempted to gain additional yards, but was stripped of the ball while being tackled and Rhode Island recovered. The Rams would score again and the rout was on. The Rams scored on all four offensive possessions in the first half, as well as a special teams touchdown, and carried a 31-7 lead at the half.

Rhode Island continued to pour it on in the third quarter as they scored on their first possession. A strip sack of Testaverde by DE LB Mack was recovered by fellow DL Brandon Ginnetti and returned to UAlbany’s one-yard line. That would be converted into a touchdown by URI RB Zoe Bryant, Jr. and the score was 45-7 at the end of three quarters. Though the game was out of reach, the Great Danes put up a fighting effort in the fourth quarter: RB Karl Mofor scored two touchdowns and Testaverde ran for another. It was too little, too late as the Rams would come away with the victory.

What are the three takeaways from the game?

Takeaway #1: Penalties killed the Great Danes’ momentum. UAlbany was dinged for 10 penalties for 92 yards, three on offense that were drive killers. One penalty came on their final drive of the first half as the Great Danes offensive line committed a holding penalty that dropped them back 10 yards. This lead to a punt that was returned by Rhode Island’s Ahmere Dorsey 69 yards for a touchdown. Then, the opening drive of the second half was halted by a pair of false start penalties. They were forced to punt and the Rams would convert another touchdown.

Takeaway #2: Rhode Island’s offensive game plan was effective. The Rams ran the Run-Pass Option to perfection against an experienced UAlbany defense. Rams QB JaJuan Lawson had an incredible day passing, going 22-for-28 for 317 yards and four touchdowns in only three quarters. His primary target was WR Aaron Parker, who caught nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Lawson’s play was instrumental in neutralizing the Great Danes’ front seven.

Takeaway #3: Regardless of the score, UAlbany fought until the end. At the end of the third quarter, the Great Danes trailed by 38 points. But that didn’t mean they were going to lie down and let the Rams continue to beat them. The Great Danes outscored the Rams 19-0 in the fourth quarter with three touchdowns. Granted, the Rams had replaced many of their starters at that point, but the Great Danes refused to give up.

Two losses in the first two weeks can be a momentum killer for a season, but the Great Danes have two games at home against non-conference opponents. Let’s see what the Great Danes can do at home.

Next Game: vs. Morgan State, 9/15, 7pm.

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