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Rhode Island Football In 2023: What To Know About The Rams

Rhode Island Football In 2023: What To Know About The Rams

The Rhode Island football team returns to action in 2023 as a member of the CAA. Here’s what to know about the program.

Aug 17, 2023 by Matt Cannizzaro

Rhode Island finished in the top half of the Colonial Athletic Association standings in 2022, posting a 5-3 conference record and 7-4 mark for the season.

The Rams ended the year on a high note, topping UAlbany in the final game of the campaign. 

Another bright spot is that Rhode Island actually is in the midst of a very positive run in the team’s history. 

The Rams have had just five winning seasons this century (2001, 2018, 2020-2021, 2021 and 2022), and they are coming off back-to-back 7-4 campaigns. Their best since the start of the millennium was an 8-3 effort in 2001, and their biggest struggle came in 2012 – they were 0-11.

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Jim Fleming will be back in 2023 for his 10th season in charge, and he’ll be looking to help the Rams continue their forward momentum.

CAA Football returns eight programs that finished with winning records in 2022. That includes William & Mary, which went 11-2 overall and tied with New Hampshire atop the CAA standings with a 7-1 record. 

CAA football action will be streamed live on FloFootball and the FloSports app, including all of Rhode Island’s CAA games.

Here’s What To Know About Rhode Island Football:

What Year Did Rhode Island Start Playing Football?

Rhode Island is among the teams in the CAA with long and storied histories. The Rams first took the field during the 1895 season, playing two games. The team then went three seasons (1895-1897) without a coach on record. During that stretch, they were 2-7.

In 124 seasons, the Rams have compiled a 419-636-43 record. 

When Did Rhode Island Join Division I College Football? 

When the NCAA started classifying teams, Rhode Island landed in the NCAA College Division (small college) and stayed there from 1937 until 1972.

After a short stint in Division II (1973-1977), the team made the move to Division I-AA. That’s now Division I FCS. 

How Many Times Has Rhode Island Football Made It To The FCS Playoffs?

Rhode Island has made three appearances in the Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs and owns a 2-3 record in those games.

The Rams’ playoff appearances came in 1981, 1984 and 1985. In 1984, their one win got them to the semifinals. In 1985, their opening-round win got them to the quarterfinals.

Where Do The Rhode Island Rams Play Their Home Games?

The Rams play at the multi-purpose Meade Stadium in Kingston, Rhode Island, which now seats more than 5,100 and is home to the football and lacrosse teams.

It opened in 1928 and was named after Rhode Island graduate and local politician John. E. “Jack” Meade.

Fun Fact: A 2019 renovation project that included stadium lighting allowed night games at Rhode Island for the first time in 47 years.

When Did Rhode Island Football Join The CAA?

Rhode Island was among the original members of the CAA, which started playing under that name in 2007.

The team was part of the Athletic League of New England State Colleges or independent from inception (1895) through the 1946 season. 

The Rams were part of the Yankee Conference, which started playing in 1947, and that lasted until 1997, when the conference merged with the Atlantic 10 Conference. This all created the foundation for what is CAA Football today.

Has Rhode Island Football Ever Won The CAA title?


However, the Rams are coming off their best season in CAA competition. Their five wins were their most since the conference began playing in 2007. Rhode Island was 4-4 on three occasions, before going 5-3 in 2022.

William & Mary and New Hampshire shared the title at 7-1. Richmond and Elon were next at 6-2, followed by Rhode Island. 

Has Rhode Island Won Any Conference Titles?


The Rams are credited with winning the Yankee Conference in 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1981, 1984 and 1985.

Who Is The Rhode Island Football Head Coach?

Jim Fleming has been Rhode Island's head coach since December 2013. He’ll be entering his 10th season. 

He has compiled a 31-62 record with the Rams, but things seem to be moving in the right direction. While he only won one game in each of his first two seasons, Rhode Island is coming off back-to-back 7-4 seasons and four winning seasons in five years.

Prior to joining the Rams, Fleming was the defensive coordinator at the University of Central Florida. He helped UCF earn a spot in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in 2013. It was the team’s second straight bowl game.

In three decades of collegiate coaching, Fleming has made the rounds, coaching in the CAA, ACC, Conference USA, MAC, Atlantic 10, NEC, Ivy League and Big Sky.

Fleming graduated from the University of the South in 1982. He was a four-year starter in football and baseball. He excelled as a tight-end. 

Who Is Rhode Island Football’s Biggest Rival? 

The team Rhode Island has played more than any other is Brown. The series started in 1909, and the two teams have played 106 times, with Brown owning the advantage (73-31-2). Brown won the first 23 times.

Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, about 30 miles from URI’s home in Kingston.

In 1981, the first time URI earned the honor of being the home team, a trophy was added to sweeten the deal for the two teams—the Governor’s Cup. Since then, Rhode Island is 21-19.

The Rams won the 2022 edition 38-10, claiming the Cup for the fourth consecutive time. In 2023, they’ll meet on Oct. 7 in Providence.

Other longtime rivalries: Rhode Island has long histories with other teams, too. The Rams have played Maine 100 times, New Hampshire 97 times and Connecticut 92 times.

Maine and New Hampshire, both CAA teams, are on the schedule again for 2023. The last time Rhode Island and Connecticut played was 2018. UConn won 56-49. 

Rhode Island (Monmouth) Made History In 2022

In October 2022, Rhode Island and Monmouth embarked on the longest game ever played between two FCS programs, also the longest contest in CAA Football history. 

The teams fought through seven overtimes, with Rhode Island taking the win, 48-46. The score was tied at 35 at the end of regulation. 

*In 2021, Illinois and Penn State (a Division I FBS contest) became the first game in FBS history to go to nine overtime periods. Illinois scored a two-point conversion to win 20-18.

Where Is Rhode Island University?

The University of Rhode Island is in Kingston, Rhode Island.

The school got its start in 1888, when 140 acres of land were purchased for the building of the Agricultural Experiment Station and State Agricultural School. The school opened in 1890.

In 1892, the name was changed to the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The first graduating class was honored in 1894, and the first student to receive a diploma—George Adams—later became the dean of the colleges School of Agriculture.

In 1909, the name changed again, this time to Rhode Island State College. In 1951, an act of the General Assembly allowed the name to be changed to the University of Rhode Island.

What Is The Mascot At The University of Rhode Island?

The mascot for the University of Rhode Island was chosen in 1923–the Ram—and a live ram appeared for the first time in 1929. That remained unchanged until the 1960s. Early names included Battering Ram and Ramses, but Rhody the Ram stuck.

Notable Rhode Island Alums

As listed by The Providence Journal in 2017, five of the top Rhode Island graduates are:

  • Christiane Amanpour (CNN international correspondent)
  • Robert Ballard (professor of oceanography at URI and is credited with finding the remains of the Titanic)
  • Bob Crandall (former president and chairman of American Airlines)
  • Jorge Elorza (former Providence mayor) 
  • Michael Flynn (retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen.)
  • Athletes: Lamar Odom (NBA champion with the Lakers)
  • Cuttino Mobley (played in NBA) 
  • Tony Horton (personal trainer and creator of P90X)
  • Xavier Munford (plays in Israeli Basketball Premier League)

More than a dozen Rhode Island football players have been selected in the NFL Draft.

Rhode Island Football Schedule 2023 

  • Aug. 31: at Georgia State, 7 p.m. ET
  • Sept. 8: Stony Brook, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 16: at Maine, 3:30 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 23: at Villanova, 2 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 30: Bryant, TBA, FloSports
  • Oct. 7: at Brown, TBA
  • Oct. 14: Richmond, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 21: at UAlbany, 3:30 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 28: New Hampshire, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 11: North Carolina A&T, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 18: at Towson, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports