ALBANY — A crowd of more than 8,000 poured into the Albany State University Coliseum Saturday evening for the first home football game for the Golden Rams in almost two years, and the hosts didn’t disappoint. They whipped up on visiting Shorter University from Rome by a 28-12 score.
A big portion of the crowd hadn’t even gotten to their seats yet before the Rams scored their first touchdown. Albany State took the opening kickoff from the Hawks and scored in just three plays. Golden Rams quarterback Dionte Bonneau threw a strike down the field to Ralph Lovett, who ended up at the 15-yard line. Lovett grabbed the ball even though the Shorter defender was called for interference. Two plays later, freshman running back Marcuis Fulks blew past the defense and into the end zone for his first touchdown of the day. Gabe Ballinas booted the extra point to put the Rams up 7-0.
It looked like Fulks scored again when he went out around the right side of the line, broke several tackles and made it to the end zone on a 27-yard run. Unfortunately the play was called back because of blocking below the waist penalty. The Rams couldn’t recover on this drive and Shorter took over on downs.
The penalties started to affect the game when another personal foul penalty against the Rams got the Hawks moving and a few plays later Shorter quarterback Aeneas Dennis connected with Dorian Anderson for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The kick was no good, but the Hawks had closed the gap to 7-6.
That would be as close as Shorter would get. Freshman Rashad Jordan took the ensuing kickoff across midfield and to the 46-yard line. A few plays later, Bonneau threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jaleel Johnson with 1:44 left to play in the half. Ballinas’ kick made it 14-6.
Fulks did score his second touchdown of the day early in the third quarter. After stopping the Hawks on their first possession, the Rams got the ball at the 46 yard line again. After a couple plays that went nowhere, Bonneau pitched the ball to Kam Ward, another freshman, and Ward raced past the defense to the three yard line. On the next play, Fulks went in for the score.
The Rams stretched the lead to 28-6 after a 35-yard drive where the Rams had great field position because of a shanked punt by Shorter. It only took four plays to score and that was when Bonneau hit Ward with a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
The Rams are now 2-0 on the young season and will travel to Valdosta next week to face the Valdosta State Blazers. Game time Saturday in Valdosta is 7 p.m. The Rams will be at home in the ASU Coliseum the following week for their first SIAC match up of the year when Clark Atlanta visits Albany. Kickoff for that game is also planned for 7 p.m.