Rhode Island Battles Central Michigan to 30-27 Triple OT Loss in Season Opener

Photo Credit: Ricky Bassman
Photo Credit: Ricky Bassman

How it Happened
Rhode Island forced three overtimes on the road at Central Michigan before falling, 30-27, in the season opener for both teams at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Central Michigan got the first points of the night on a 22-yard field goal by Michael Armstrong at 13:16 of the second quarter. The Chippewas drove the ball 49 yards on eight plays, but Rhody safety D.J. Stewart broke up a pass in the end zone on third down to force the field goal attempt.

On the ensuing kickoff, Harold Cooper returned the ball 58 yards to give Rhode Island the ball in Central Michigan territory for the first time. Two plays later, however, Amari Coleman intercepted Tyler Harris at the Chippewa 23-yard line. An 11-play, 77-yard drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Shane Morris to Brandon Childress. The score put Central Michigan up 10-0 with 8:33 left in the half.

Rhode Island cut into the lead late in the third quarter when freshman wide receiver Isaiah Coulter took a pass from Harris 56 yards for a touchdown. Coulter broke a tackle and outran the defense for the touchdown, making it 13-7 with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

Central Michigan stemmed Rhode Island's momentum when Jonathan Ward broke through the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown run just 1:01 into the fourth. However, Rhode Island came right back when Harris hit Marven Beauvais for an 80-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-14 with 12:43 to go.

The Rams knotted the score at 21-21, as Harris found Aaron Parker on a 14-yard slant with 2:23 left in the quarter.  Both teams had one additional possession to close out the quarter before overtime.

C.J. Carrick booted a 42-yard field goal on the first possession in overtime to give the Rams their first lead of the ballgame.  CMU drove to the URI 4-yard line, but the Rhody defense held the Chips to a 22-yard field goal and both teams headed to a second overtime period.  A fumbled snap by CMU at the line of scrimmage was recovered by Justin Hogan, giving Rhody a chance to win it with a score.  Carrick pushed his 33-yard attempt wide right and both teams headed to a third OT.

Carrick drilled the 36-yarder to start the third overtime period, putting URI close to its first-ever win over a BCS bowl-eligible opponent, but the Chips' Devin Spalding found the endzone for the winning score.

Inside the Box Score

  • Senior defensive back Isaiah Hill had a career-high 11 tackles. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Momodou Mbye.
  • Sophomore Myles Ross made his first career start at safety and had his first career interception in the first quarter.  He also had nine tackles.
  • Freshman Satchel Denton punted seven times for 268 yards. He had a long boot of 56 yards in the second quarter.
  • Senior Harold Cooper topped 100 all-purpose yards for the fifth straight game, dating back to last season. Cooper had 181 total yards - 77 kick return yards, 98 rushing yards and six receiving yards - to top the century mark for the 18th time in his career.
  • Freshman Isaiah Coulter made his first career reception a memorable one, taking it 56 yards for Rhode Island's first points of the season. Senior Harold Buckner III and redshirt junior Marven Beauvais had key blocks to spring the play.
  • Beauvais had his first career 100-yard receiving game, finishing with five grabs for 106 yards. His 80-yard touchdown catch was Rhode Island's longest pass play in 66 games, dating back to an 83-yard touchdown grab by Anthony Baskerville against Massachusetts on Sept. 17, 2011.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Aaron Parker hauled in seven passes for 69 yards while junior Khayri Denny added two passes for 20 yards.
  • Junior Tyler Harris became the 10th different Ram to start at quarterback since 2010. Harris finished the game 21-of-40 for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He joined Bob Bentsen (2011) as the only Rhody players to pass for 200 yards and more than one touchdown in their first career start under center. Bentsen passed for 278 yards and three touchdowns against Delaware on Oct. 22, 2011.
  • The following players made their collegiate debut tonight vs. Central Michigan: cornerback Kwadir Brown, punter/holder Anthony Garro, kicker C.J. Carrick, punter Satchel Denton and wide receivers Isaiah Coulter and Ivory Frimpong.
  • In addition to those players, transfers Tyler Harris, JaJuan Lawson and Tyler Burke all made their Rhode Island debut. Harris started at quarterback, while Burke started at tight end.
  • Central Michigan was 5-for-5 on red zone scoring chances. Rhode Island was 2-of-5 inside the 20.
  • Despite the five offensive turnovers, Rhode Island allowed just seven points off turnovers.
  • Season captains for Rhode Island are senior running back Harold Cooper, senior defensive end Jose Duncan and fifth-year senior defensive tackle Mike Ezirike.
  • Senior wide receiver Harold Buckner III was the game captain, while redshirt junior left tackle Dino Boyd was the team's anchor bearer. Rhode Island's RECON-RAM Player of the Week was freshman defensive back Malik Gavek.
  • Referee Amanda Sauer became the first female referee to head an officiating crew in a Rhode Island game.

Stat of the Game
284Tyler Harris' 284 passing yards were the most ever by a Rhode Island quarterback in his debut for the Rams.

What's Next
Rhode Island heads home to host Stony Brook in the CAA Football opener for both teams Saturday, Sept. 9. The game will be streamed live for free as the CAA Football "Game of the Week" on CBS/College Sports Live. Kickoff is set for 1:04 p.m.