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William and Mary

No. 4/5 Tribe Extends Winning Streak to Five with 26-7 Victory Against Rhode Island

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The No. 4/5 William and Mary football team extended its winning streak to five games with a 26-7 victory against Rhode Island on Saturday night at Zable Stadium.

Complete First Half Video Highlights
Complete Second Half Video Highlights

In addition to allowing just one score, the Tribe (5-1, 3-1) outgained the Rams (2-3, 1-1), 370-233, and forced three turnovers en route to securing its ninth consecutive win at home. Additionally, the victory pushed the Collegeís record to 5-1 for the second straight season.

Payton Award candidate junior running back Jonathan Grimes became the programís career record holder for all-purpose yards (4,658) with a 163 output against the Rams. In less than three seasons, Grimes eclipsed the previous mark of 4,613 established by former W&M standout tailback Robert Green from 1988-90.

Senior tailbacks Courtland Marriner and Terrence Riggins both registered rushing touchdowns, while junior quarterback Michael Paulus completed 21-of-31 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Moody posted four catches for a game-high 73 yards with a score.

Defensively, sophomore middle linebacker Dante Cook registered his third double-digit tackle performance in the last four games with a team-high 12 stops. Senior linebacker Evan Francks also came up big with an interception and a fumble recovery.

While neither team put any points on the scoreboard in the first quarter, the Tribe had an opportunity but was unable to convert a 34-yard field goal attempt with 2:39 showing.

The Tribe took a 3-0 lead when redshirt freshman placekicker Drake Kuhn capped off a 9-play, 59-yard drive with a 37-yard field goal from the left hash early in the second quarter. Grimes keyed the drive with 24 yards on three carries.

After holding URI to a three-and-out on its next possession, the Tribe took a 10-0 lead when Paulus connected with Moody on a 17-yard touchdown strike with 5:44 remaining in the half.

Cook forced a fumble on Rhode Islandís ensuing kickoff return, and freshman Airek Green returned it 19 yards to the Ramsí 2-yard line. Although W&M was unable to get in the end zone, Kuhn made a 19-yard field goal to push the advantage to 13-0.

Rhode Island responded on its next possession, however, and cut the margin to 13-7 when running back Ayo Isijola scored on a 20-yard touchdown run with just 0:58 remaining in the half.

The Tribe outgained URI, 184-115, in the opening half and held the Rams to just 27 passing yards.

W&M moved the ball to URIís 21-yard line on the opening drive of the second half but missed a 38-yard field goal.

The Tribe put itself in good position to score again three plays later when Francks recovered a fumble caused by sophomore safety Brian Thompson at URIís 24-yard line. However, W&M turned the ball over on downs at the Ramsí 16-yard line.

Despite taking over inside its own 20, Rhode Island marched to the Tribeís 3-yard line but failed to convert a fourth-and-goal when senior cornerback Ben Cottingham broke up a pass in the right side of the end zone intended for Isijola.

After seeming to hold the Tribe to a 3-and-out on the ensuing drive, URI was whistled for a roughing the punter penalty that enabled the Tribe to post a 19-play, 97-yard drive that lasted 8:15 and culminated with a 3-yard touchdown run by Marriner to put the College ahead, 19-7. W&Mís two-point conversion attempt failed. Paulus completed 6-of-9 passes for 44 yards on the drive, while Marriner rushed for 27 yards.

On the first play of the next series, Francks intercepted URI quarterback Steve Probst at the Ramsí 29-yard line and Riggins scored on a 9-yard scamper five plays later.

W&Mís defensive unit held Rhode Island to just 29 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter to help preserve the victory.

After a bye week, the Tribe will return to action when it hosts No. 2 Delaware for Homecoming on Oct. 23.

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