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URI Football Set to Kick Off 2015 Season vs Syracuse

Thursday, September 03, 2015

 

Photo courtesy of gorhody.com

The University of Rhode Island football team is set to kick off their 2015 season on Friday, September 4 against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. The game can be seen on ESPN3.

"It will be great. I think it's good exposure for our university, and our football program. Obviously, it will be a good challenge for us. We are going to have to play well to win up there," said second year head coach Jim Fleming

2015 URI Rams 

The Rams are coming off the 2014 season in which they went 1-11 overall and 1-7 in conference. URI's only win came at home in the last game of the season against Towson. 

Coach Fleming expects significant improvement this time around.  "I think that we have gotten better in every area as a staff and this year we are looking for improved performance from the team. I think this year they know what to expect from us as a staff," Fleming said. 

URI struggled to score points last season, averaging only 12.5 points per game - a number that went up to 13.6 points per game in conference play. 

This season, URI's offense will be helped by running backs Markey Clarke, T.J. Anderson and Harold Cooper, as well as redshirt sophomore tight end Charlie McKeeman. 

Running back Harold Cooper Photo courtesy of gorhody.com

"Our goal is to get a couple of first downs every time we touch the football and if we are able to do that we will shorten the field, score some points and put ourselves in position to win some games this season," Fleming said. 

As far as the Rams offensive philosophy this season, expect a lot of running. "I think that we are a run first football team. I think we have decent backs that we can get the ball too, an experienced offensive line that can get in peoples way and create some holes," Fleming added. 

URI averaged 119 rushing yards per game during Fleming's first season and picked up 70 first downs by carrying the ball. 

Syracuse Orange 

Syracuse is also coming into this season looking to bounce back from a rough 2014 campaign. The Orange went 3-9 overall last season, including a 1-6 record at home. 

The Orange are led by quarterback Terrel Hunt, running backs Devante McFarlane and George Morris, and wide receivers Brisly Estime and Alvin Cornelius. 

The Orange are coached by Scott Shafer, who is in his third season, and bring back 11 players who started at least six games in 2014. Twenty four players have made at least one career start. 

URI vs. Syracuse

The Rams and Orange will play for the second time in four seasons. The last meeting between the teams came in 2011 when URI fell 21-14 in a game that was tied 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter. 

"We are looking to go in and play a clean game and you know we are going to compete. It will be nice to bang some other people, we have been hitting each other for 15 practices or whatever it is. We are looking forward to getting it going," Fleming said. 

"I'm ooking forward to going against an old friend in Jim Fleming. Their offensive coordinator Billy Bleil is a guy I worked with many years ago. So, I know they will have the Rhode Island Rams well coached," said Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer in a press conference. 

This will be only the third meeting ever between the Rams and Orange. 

Looking Ahead 

Following the game against Syracuse, URI will visit Albany on Saturday, September 12 before finally playing their home opener on September 19 against Harvard. 

For more on the URI Rams or to get tickets, click here.

 

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