The last time that Harvard football locked horns with the Rhode Island Rams, the result was lopsided.
Beneath early October skies, the Crimson opened its season with a commanding performance. Captain and All-American Charles J. Hubbard Jr. patrolled the line of scrimmage, fifth-year coach Robert Fisher maintained a perfect opening-day record, and Harvard ended the day with a 35-0 win.
That game was in 1923.
Ninety-two years later, Rhode Island will have a shot at revenge when Harvard travels to Kingston, R.I. for a Saturday matchup with the Rams.
Much has changed since that long-ago contest. For one the goalposts are no longer at the front of the end zone.
But one constant has remained, and that is the expected dominance of the Crimson squad. In 1923 Harvard entered on the heels of a 7-2 season; in 2015 the team will kick off the Rhode Island contest .nd. with a 14-game winning streak on the line, not to mention the lingering memories of last year’s Ivy League title.
“It’s our first game,” said captain and linebacker Matt Koran. “We’re definitely looking to get a win, but we want to come together as a group.”
The same could be said for the Rams, which started the season with a pair of defeats against Syracuse and Albany.
Both those games, which Rhode Island lost by a combined score of 82-7, took place at away venues; Saturday will mark the Rams’ home opener.
Home or away, Rhode Island found precious little shelter during the 2014 season.
Opening with a 48-7 loss to Marshall, the Rams played nearly three months of football without a victory. Then, in the last week of the season, the team pulled out a 13-7 win over Towson to avoid a winless season.
What Rhode Island lacks in proven experience, it makes up for in youth.
Junior quarterback Paul Mroz had never started a game before this season, and in his first four quarters of play, he received a baptism by fire at the hands of the Syracuse defense. Held to just 60 yards of passing in that contest, Mroz rebounded a week later with 180 yards and a touchdown on a 17-of-38 showing.
The team’s top wide receiver, freshman Khayri Denny, also lacked game experience before this September. But Denny has emerged as a legitimate target for the Rams, racking up over 100 yards of combined offense and totaling the squad’s lone touchdown across both games.
Mroz and Denny share the offensive workload with sophomore running back Harold Cooper, who averaged 41.7 yards per game during last year’s 1-11 campaign.
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