Sep. 3—CLINTON, Miss. — A year away from football games didn't slow the Albany State football program's momentum.
The Rams picked up where they left off at the end of a successful 2019 season — 2020 was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic — with a 24-0 victory Thursday night in the season opener at Mississippi College. The defense was dominant in the shutout and ASU scored in every quarter to begin the season on a positive note.
"The kids played really hard," ASU head coach Gabe Giardina said. "This was the ultimate team win. We had to play a lot of guys and had a ton of guys to step up and make plays. We are really, really proud of all three phases our team displayed tonight."
Dionte Bonneau's 9-yard touchdown pas to Ralph Lovett III late in the first quarter put the Rams up early. Another TD in the second quarter extended the lead to 14-0 by halftime.
Gabriel Ballinas tacked on a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter before ASU finished the scoring with another Bonneau TD pass, this one covering 29 yards to Joe'Vontae Shorter.
Kamran Ward had 16 rushes for 91 yards and Marcus Fulks rushed 16 times for 70 yards to lead the Rams' rushing attack.
The ASU defensive standouts included Antonio Leroy Jr. (seven tackles, five solos), Coemba Jones (six tackles, five solos, one sack, one forced fumble), Stephan Pierre (five solo tackles, one fumble recovery), Malachi Brown (three solo tackles, one for loss, one forced fumble, one interception) and Jaree Turner (one interception).
The Rams now have plenty of time to prepare for their home opener on Sept. 11 against Shorter College at the Albany State University Coliseum. That game kicks off at 7 p.m.