How It Happened
Rhode Island gave a competitive effort at FBS Ohio, but the Rams could not contain Bobcat quarterback Nathan Rourke in a 41-20 loss Saturday. Rourke threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third in an efficient season-opening performance.
Ohio (1-0) took its first possession 94 yards in 13 plays, scoring when Rourke ran it in from 5 yards out. Rourke was 6-for-7 for 76 yards and rushed for 16 yards on the drive.
Rhody (0-1) trimmed the lead early in the second quarter when C.J. Carrick connected on a 35-yard field goal to make the score 7-3. The Bobcats went on to score 10 unanswered points however, as Louie Zervos made a 37-yard field goal, and then Rourke hit Tyler Tupa for a 22-yard strike to push the lead to 14 points.
Rhode Island got another Carrick field goal just before the half, sending the teams into the break with the Rams trailing, 17-6.
Rourke orchestrated another long drive to open the second half. He capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Luehrman, extending the lead to 24-6 with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
Vito Priore and Aaron Parker later connected on a 34-yard touchdown strike to give Rhode Island momentum. The TD got the Rams back within two scores at 24-13, but the Bobcats responded with a 43-yard field goal from Zervos to push their lead back to 14 points (27-13). A botched snap exchange on a punt then set up Ohio in the red zone, and a 6-yard run by De'Montre Tuggle made it 34-13, icing the game for the Bobcats.
Inside the Box Score
- Senior wide receiver Aaron Parker recorded his 10th career 100-yard receiving game for Rhode Island, finishing with 144 yards on nine catches, including a 34-yard touchdown.
- Parker is now fourth in URI history with 22 touchdown catches. He has passed Shawn Leonard, who had 21 from 2006-09.
- Parker also moved into fifth all-time with 2,363 receiving yards passing both Leonard (2,353 from 2006-09) and Cy Butler (2,348 from 1993-96) with his performance on Saturday.
Parker has caught a touchdown pass against all four bowl-level teams he has faced. In four career games against FBS opponents, he has combined for 25 catches, 378 receiving yards and four touchdowns against Kansas, Central Michigan, Connecticut and Ohio.
- Senior wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey set a new career high with four catches for 59 yards.
- Redshirt senior Zoe Bryant, Jr. averaged 5.2 yards per carry while rushing for 89 yards.
- Redshirt junior Vito Priore was 22-of-42 for 291 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
- Sophomore tight end Caleb Warren made his first career catch, which went for 9 yards. Warren also started, as the Rams opened in a two-tight end set.
- Rhode Island won the turnover battle, 2-1. Redshirt sophomore Jake Fire recovered a fumble on special teams, and redshirt senior Momodou Mbye had an interception.
- Fire's play set up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Priore to Isaiah Coulter.
- Redshirt freshman linebacker Andre Johnson had a career-high seven tackles. He and senior defensive back Brian Campbell combined on Rhody's lone sack of the day.
- Campbell also recorded a career high eight tackles, matching senior linebacker Branyan Javier-Castillo for Rhody's team-high.
- Senior defensive back Malik Wilder set a career high with seven tackles.
- Junior C.J. Carrick made field goals from 35 and 19 yards, and drilled a pair of extra points. He took over fifth place in program history in career points by a kicker with 119, passing Michael Griffin (1984-86) and Colin Gallagher, who both had 111 points.
- Carrick also moved into a tie for ninth all-time with his 17th career field goal in the second quarter.
- Ohio scored on all five of its red zone possessions, getting three touchdowns and two field goals. Rhode Island was 2-for-3 in the red zone, getting a pair of field goals.
- Ohio was 8-for-11 on third downs, while the Rams were 4-of-14.
- Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke finished the day 16-of-22 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He added 75 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
- Senior defensive tackle Brandon Ginnetti was the anchor bearer for the game.
- Senior right tackle Kevin Lawrence served as the game captain.
Rhode Island heads home to host Delaware on Saturday, Sept. 7. The game will be played under the new lights and on the brand new turf at Meade Stadium.