Rams Win on Senior Day, Beating Villanova 20-6

Photo by Victoria Bond
Photo by Victoria Bond

How It Happened
Rhode Island sent its senior class out on a high note, beating Villanova 20-6 in the final game at Meade Stadium for the 12 members of the 2017 seniors.

Villanova (4-6, 2-5 CAA Football) got off to a quick start with a 51-yard pass, which put them at the 22-yard line. Rhode Island caught a break when Wildcat tight end Simon Bingelis stumbled and fell without getting hit, preventing what appeared to be a sure touchdown. Rhody's defense then held firm, limiting Villanova to a 33-yard field goal to put the Wildcats on the board with 12:17 left in the opening quarter. Rhode Island (3-7, 2-5 CAA Football) completed its second possession with a 23-yard field goal by C.J. Carrick with 5:49 left in the opening quarter, tying the score 3-3.

Starting at their own 12-yard line, the Rams drove the ball 88 yards for the game's first touchdown. JaJuan Lawson capped the drive with a 6-yard rush into the end zone for the Rams' first lead of the game. Rhody went up 10-3 with 5:40 left in the second quarter, a lead the Rams took into the break. 

A Villanova interception gave the Wildcats possession near midfield in the third quarter, getting strong field position. The Wildcats had first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, but Rhode Island's defense thwarted the scoring chance and held Villanova to a field goal that trimmed the lead to 10-6.

Carrick's second field goal of the day pushed the lead back to seven points at 13-6 with 4:42 to go in the third, and less than two minutes later Lawson connected with Marven Beauvais on a 71-yard touchdown strike that put the Rams in command. Beauvais stiff armed a defender and beat the defense to the goal line, giving Rhody a 20-6 lead.

Neither side scored in the fourth quarter, and the Rams ended the game with their fifth sack of the day when fifth-year senior Mike Ezirike got to the quarterback on the final snap.

Inside the Box Score

  • Before the game, Rhode Island honored 12 of its graduating seniors: Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, Harold Buckner III, Isaiah Hill, Hayden Pryor, T.J. Anderson, Ezra Holmes, Khilyni Kennedy, Marcus Pantoja, Geoff Horwitz, Harold Cooper, Jose Duncan, and Mike Ezirike.
  • Sophomore L.B. Mack III, junior Justin Hogan, sophomore Brandon Ginnetti, sophomore Rashod Dickerson, junior Miles Gardea, senior Mike Ezirike, and senior Jose Duncan all had a hand in Rhode Island getting five sacks on the day. The Rams broke the program's single-season record of 29 set in 2005 and now have 32 on the year. Ginnetti and Duncan combined on a sack on Villanova's first possession of the second quarter to break the record.
  • Redshirt junior Marven Beauvais had a career-high 152 receiving yards on six catches. His 71-yard touchdown was his second-longest of the season, behind only his 80-yard catch and run at Central Michigan.
  • Junior Khayri Denny had a career-high 108 receiving yards on a team-best seven receptions.
  • Beauvais and Denny were the first Rhody teammates to top 100 receiving yards in the same game since Anthony Baskerville and Brandon Johnson-Farrell did so against Delaware on Oct. 22, 2011, covering a span of 70 games.
  • C.J. Carrick scored eight points for the Rams, connecting on both of his field goal attempts and two extra point tries. 
  • Redshirt junior quarterback JaJuan Lawson had a career-high 336 passing yards, as well as a career-high of 25 completions. The rushing touchdown for Lawson was his second of the season. 
  • The anchor bearer was junior linebacker Justin Hogan, who had a team-high eight tackles plus his first sack of the season.
  • Rhode Island's RECON-RAM Players of the Week were redshirt freshman offensive lineman Sean Anderson and freshman linebacker Travis Franco.

What's Next
Rhode Island concludes the 2017 season with a game at Towson on Saturday, Nov. 18. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.