Rams Send Seniors Out With Victory, Securing First Winning Season in 17 Years

Photo Credit: Mikayla Gempp
Photo Credit: Mikayla Gempp

How it Happened 
Rhode Island closed out the 2018 season with a Senior Day victory, beating New Hampshire at Meade Stadium, 24-21, to capture its first winning season since 2001. Senior captain D.J. Stewart sealed the game and his Rhody football career when he came up with the interception to end the Wildcats' last drive of the day. 

In the first quarter, the Rams (6-5, 4-4 CAA Football) took advantage of a forced fumble by Nas Jones that was recovered by Momodou Mbye, striking first on a 27-yard field goal by C.J. Carrick to take a 3-0 lead with 3:21 to go in the first. In the second quarter, the Rams were able to find their way into the end zone when JaJuan Lawson escaped the Wildcats defense and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run, giving Rhode Island a 10-0 advantage going into halftime.  

To open up the second half, JaJuan Lawson capped off a seven-play, 63-yard drive with a 16-yard pass to Marven Beauvais, extending the Rhody lead to 17-0. The Wildcats  (4-7, 3-5 CAA Football) finally found the end zone in the last two minutes of the third quarter after Carlos Washington rushed for an 8-yard touchdown, making the score 17-7. 

The momentum stayed in favor of New Hampshire early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats forced a Rhode Island fumble, sparking a drive that ended when Washington punched in his second rushing touchdown of the game. 

Ahmere Dorsey responded for the Rams with a 95-yard kickoff return to the house to get Rhody's lead back up to 24-14 with 11:58 left in the game. New Hampshire responded with Washington's third rushing touchdown with 3:15 left, putting the Wildcats within three points of Rhode Island. 

The Wildcats got the ball back again with less than two minutes to go and had a chance to either tie or take the lead. On second-and-10, D.J. Stewart intercepted the New Hampshire pass that put the final touches on the last game on the grass field at Meade Stadium. 

Inside the Box Score

  • On his 95-yard kickoff return touchdown, junior wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey became the first player in program history to combine for 1,000 return yards in a single season. He finished the season with 1,085 special teams return yards (851 on kick returns, 234 on punt returns).
  • The kick return was Dorsey's second of the season. He also had one punt return for a touchdown. 
  • Redshirt senior wide receiver Marven Beauvais caught his 14th career touchdown pass. He ended his career tied for eighth in program history along with Frank Geiselman (1965-1967) and Cy Butler (1993-1996). 
  • Senior wide receiver Khayri Denny caught his 100th career reception on a 5-yard grab late in the second quarter. He finished the day with two catches for 21 yards. 
  • This is the only the second time in program history that URI has had three or more active players with 100 career catches. Denny, Beauvais (107) and Parker (135) join the 1985 trio of Brian Forster (284), Dameon Reilly (165) and Tony DiMaggio (149) to share the honor. 
  • Redshirt senior quarterback JaJuan Lawson rushed for 27 yards and had 116 passing yards. His rushing touchdown in the second quarter was his fifth this season. 
  • Lawson was responsible for 22 touchdowns through just seven games this season. He threw for 17 and ran for five.
  • Lawson finished his career setting both the single-season and career completion percentage records for Rhode Island. This season, he completed 66.7% of his passes, and he completed 64.0 percent for his career. 
  • Senior defensive back D.J. Stewart came up with his third interception of the season and fifth of his career. He finished today's game with six tackles.
  • Sophomore kicker C.J. Carrick finished the season making six of his eight field goal attempts (.750), tying him for seventh in program history for single-season field goal percentage with Chris Cassara (1988). His 61 points were the fifth most by a kicker in one season in team history.
  • Junior defensive end L.B. Mack III had a career-high two pass breakups. He finished the game with five tackles, including four solo stops.  
  • Redshirt junior defensive back Momodou Mbye contributed to two of the Ram's four turnovers. He recovered his second fumble of the season and had his first interception of the season.
  • Both junior Brandon Ginnetti and freshman James Makszin recorded their third sacks of the season. 
  • Ginnetti finished the game with three tackles, including two solo stops and two tackles for loss. 
  • Senior captain linebacker Nas Jones had his first forced fumble of the season. He finished the season tied with Branyan Javier-Castillo for the team lead with 78 tackles.
  • Redshirt junior running back Zoe Bryant, Jr. ran for 60 yards on 14 carries. He also made two grabs for 28 receiving yards.
  • Rhody was 4-for-4 in red zone chances. 
  • Rhode Island honored 18 of its graduating senior class before the game. 
  • The Rhody defense kept the Wildcats out of the end zone for the entire first half. The last time UNH went into the break scoreless was at its Sept. 15 matchup at Colorado.  
  • The last time the Rams finished the season with a 4-1 record at Meade Stadium was under head coach Joe Trainor in 2010. 
  • Today's win marked the first time since 2001 that the Rams have earned a winning season record. That year, Rhode Island went 8-3 under head coach Tim Stowers. 
  • The victory also clinches a .500 mark in CAA Football play for the first time since 2010, when the Rams were 4-4. 
  • Rhode Island finished the season with 13 fumble recoveries. 
  • Attendance for the game was 3,012. 
  • Senior defensive back D.J. Stewart was the anchor bearer.