Turnovers Doom Rams in 35-28 Loss at Albany

Photo Credit: Anthony Garro
Photo Credit: Anthony Garro

How It Happened
A disastrous third quarter was Rhode Island's doom as the Rams fell, 35-28, at Albany Saturday.

The third quarter saw Albany score 22 points off of four Rhode Island turnovers. The Rams had committed just five turnovers in the first six game of the season. Three fumbles and an interception helped put the Rams in a 28-21 hole they couldn't dig out of heading into the final quarter.

Rhode Island (1-6, 0-4 CAA Football) used the ground attack on its opening possession to go 91 yards in seven plays. Zoe Bryant, Jr. ran for 69 yards on the drive, scoring on a 34-yard run that was Rhody's longest rush from scrimmage on the season.

Albany (5-3, 3-1 CAA Football) broke through late in the second quarter. Juwan Green hauled in a pass from Jeff Undercuffler 62 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. The Great Danes missed the extra point, allowing Rhody to keep the lead, 7-6 with 2:33 to go in the half.

It didn't take the Rams long to respond. Vito Priore led a seven-play, 63-yard drive that took just 1:44. A 35-yard kick return by Ahmere Dorsey gave Rhody strong field position. An 11-yard run by Bryant followed by a 16-yard pass to Aaron Parker and an 18-yarder to Ivory Frimong moved the ball to the Albany 18 in three plays. Rushes by Priore and Bryant got Rhody to the 1-yard line, and Priore burrowed in from there on a second-and-goal rush, pushing the URI led to 14-6.

The Great Danes capitalized on a Rhody turnover early in the third quarter. Priore was hit as he dropped back to pass, and Nick Griffin returned the fumble 55 yards for the score. Undercuffler hit Green for the 2-point conversion, tying the score, 14-14 with 12:38 in the third quarter.

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave Albany the ball at the Rhody 23-yard line. Undercuffler hit D.J. Wesneski for a 13-yard touchdown three plays later as the Great Danes took their first lead, 21-14.

Rhode Island took its ensuing possession to the Albany 1-yard line, but the third fumble of the quarter gave Albany the ball. The Ram defense forced a three-and-out, and heavy pressure on the punt set the Rams up with first-and-10 at the Albany 33-yard line.

The Rams used the short field to tie the game. A 28-yard catch by Parker set up first-and-goal at the 1, and three plays later, Parker got free for a 4-yard touchdown catch from Priore, helping knot the score, 21-21 with 3:50 left in the third.

An interception - Rhode Island's fourth turnover of the third quarter - gave Albany the ball at the Ram 25. The Great Danes took advantage, as Undercuffler and Wesneski connected for the second touchdown pass of their day, putting Albany up, 28-21 with just 50 seconds to go in third third.

Undercuffler hit Green for a 10-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game for the first time. Albany led, 35-21, with 10:19 to go. A touchdown pass from Priore to Dorsey late in the fourth got the Rams within a touchdown, but Albany was able to run out the clock from there.

Inside the Box Score

  • Redshirt senior Zoe Bryant, Jr. had a career-high 109 rushing yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. It was the first career 100-yard rushing game for Bryant.
  • Bryant's 34-yard touchdown run was not only Rhody's longest rush of the season, but also the longest of Bryant's career.
  • Senior wide receiver Aaron Parker became the second Rhode Island player ever to top 3,000 career receiving yards when he caught a 16-yard pass from Vito Priore late in the second quarter. He joined Brian Forster (3,944 from 1983-85, 87) in the 3,000-yard club.
  • Parker finished the day with eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. He moved by Cy Butler for third place in team history with 190 catches on his final grab of the night.
  • Senior wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey had four catches for 64 yards and a score. He added 107 kick return yards and a 22-yard punt return.
  • Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Fire matched his career high with a team-best nine tackles.
  • Redshirt junior Vito Priore was 26-of-41 for 320 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for a score.
  • Sophomore tight end Caleb Warren had three catches for 42 yards. Redshirt freshman tight end Hunter Gorgas recorded his first career catch, a 9-yard grab in the third quarter.
  • Redshirt freshman Sebastian Delasoudas made his first career start, lining up at center.
  • Senior wide receiver Josh McClean and redshirt freshman wide receiver Peyton Robinson both made their Rhode Island debut, appearing on special teams.
  • Rhode Island lost two fumbles in a span of three snaps early in the third quarter, leading directly to 15 points for Albany. Entering the game, the Rams had lost just two fumbles on the season.
  • The fumble return for a touchdown by Nick Griffin was the first by a Rhody opponent since William & Mary's Nate Evans had a 71-yard fumble return in 2018.
  • Senior center Raees Johnson served as the game captain, while senior defensive end Keith Wells was the anchor bearer.

What's Next
Rhode Island returns to Meade Stadium to host Elon on Saturday, Oct. 26. It will be the first home game in nearly a month, dating back to Sept. 28. Kickoff against the Phoenix is set for 1 p.m.