Rhode Island is for real.
Last week, in the leadup to the URI football game, Harvard coach Tim Murphy told his colleagues that “the NFL scouts that come through our place tell me that Rhode Island has four or five guys that they are watching.”
After the 20th-ranked Rams beat the Crimson, 23-16, in a solid display at Harvard Stadium on Friday night, the number of prospects might be growing.
URI, which last posted a winning season in 2001 (8-3), is clicking on all cylinders. The Rams (3-1) have a chance to finish with a winning record and — shhhhhhh — an NCAA playoff game is very much a possibility.
Before he went out with an apparent leg injury, URI fifth-year senior quarterback JaJuan Lawson had a 9-yard scoring run, which left Harvard defensive tackle Richie Ryan gasping for air. Ryan finished with seven tackles and a sack. Lawson exited after completing 12-of-16 passes for 153 yards in the victory.
“We’ll assess him (Lawson) tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get him back for next week,” said URI coach Jim Fleming.
Now in his fifth year as the URI coach, Fleming finally is seeing the fruits of his patient building process. After win totals of one, one, two and three, URI is clearly headed in the right direction.
“It’s a pretty good testimony to the development of our team,” said Fleming.
In addition to Lawson, junior defensice end L.B. Mack III had a game-high 11 tackles with two sacks, two quarterback hurries and probably should have put on a Crimson game jersey for the amount of time he spent in Harvard’s backfield.
It is not uncommon to compare 6-foot-3 sophomore Rams wide receiver Isaiah Coulter to a former Patriots pass catcher and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss. Coulter seems to effortlessly glide across the field before making a catch, which he did six times for 106 yards against Harvard.
First-year coach Brian Bubna has MIT undefeated through five games following the Engineers’ 31-24 win over Merchant Marine on Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium.
Senior quarterback Udgam Goyal continued his stellar play, hitting 25-of-43 for 362 yards and four scores, each to different receiver. Sophomore Keithen Shepard, freshman Jack Montinaro, senior Eddy Garcia-Montes, and junior Eric Bradford.
On defense, sophomore defensive back Tyler Ray led the Engineers with 11 tackles.
Plenty of Pride
Springfield College’s triple-option ground down Norwich, 33-16, as three players gained at least 100 yards for the Pride. Jared Baron had 16 carries for 121 yards. Tim Callahan ran for 111 yards on 20 attempts with a touchdown. Hunter Belzo had three touchdowns with his 23 carries for 100 yards on the nose. . . .
Tufts belted Bates, 47-14, as junior Ryan McDonald did it all. The 6-foot-3 McDonald made 15-of-36 throws for 207 yards and two TDs plus he rushed 23 times for 161 yards and another score. . . .
Amherst defeated Bowdoin, 24-14, in a contest that featured a pitcher’s duel. Amherst quarterback Ollie Eberth was 19-of-26 for 251 yards with three touchdowns. Polar Bears quarterback Austin McCrum was 24-of-41 for 242 and a pair of touchdowns. . . .
Keep an eye on UMass-Dartmouth sophomore Stephen Gachioch. The quarterback was brilliant in a 40-27 loss at unbeaten Western Connecticut hitting 26-of-44 passes for 300 yards and gaining 61 yards and scoring once on 11 carries.