The Rhode Island football team’s best season since 2001 wasn’t quite enough for an FCS playoff berth.
A 43-28 loss to Elon on Saturday sealed URI’s fate, dropping them to 7-4 on the season and leaving them just outside the field. Some projections released Saturday morning still had the Rams in the field, but when the bracket was revealed later that day, it included just two teams from the Colonial Athletic Association. Rhody was looking for its first playoff berth since 1985.
A mid-season slump proved costly for the Rams, who started the season with five straight wins before dropping three in a row to Towson, Villanova and Maine. Wins over UMass and New Hampshire righted the ship and gave the Rams a fighting chance heading into their season finale.
Elon had a little too much as it played spoiler. The Rams scored the game’s first touchdown on Saturday, but the Phoenix responded with 27 consecutive points to take control. They scored on seven of their first eight possessions.
The Rams made a final push in the second half, making it 36-28 with five minutes left, but Elon iced the victory on a touchdown with 2:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.
URI’s seven wins were the most for the program since an 8-3 campaign in 2001.
Parity in the CAA ended up being bad news for the Rams. The conference typically ranks among the best in the country. As recently as 2018, the CAA put six teams in the playoffs. This year, only Villanova and James Madison earned berths. Five teams finished 4-4 in the conference, making it tough to separate them out for the purposes of the playoffs.