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CAA FOOTBALL 10T/10D: RHODE ISLAND RAMS

Aug 20, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

CAA Football will chronicle all 10 of its programs each weekday leading up to the 2010 season kickoff Thursday, Sept. 2. Using the league’s preseason poll as a guide we will work our way up to the league favorite. Check back each day for information on your favorite team.

Today’s squad:  The Rhode Island Rams

The 2010 edition of the Rhode Island football team welcomes back a lot of familiar faces this fall. This season, Rhody returns 18 starters, including seven on offense, nine on defense and two on special teams.

Offensively, Rhody welcomes back quarterback Chris Paul-Etienne, who made the most of his first season as a collegiate starter as he threw for 1,745 yards through the air and 14 touchdowns. Paul-Etienne opened the year on a high note as he totaled 245 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns (164 – passing and 81 – rushing) in the Rams’ season-opening victory over Fordham (Sept. 5).

The Florida native came on strong toward the end of the year as he averaged 236.7 yards passing and tossed 10 touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions during the final four games of the season. His 10 touchdowns were the most of any CAA quarterback in the last four games of 2009.

Defensively, Rhode Island made habit of gaining turnovers as it collected 26 in 2009 (11 – interceptions; 15 – fumbles). The Rams finished their 2009 campaign with a plus 10 turnover margin, which ranked second in CAA Football.

Senior linebackers Matt Hansen and Rob Damon headline the list of returnees this season. In 2009, the duo combined to make 32 starts, 285 tackles and record seven sacks.

Hansen leads the way having started at linebacker the past two seasons. The Rhode Island native has recorded back-to-back seasons of 100 tackles or more. Hansen, who has tallied 287 tackles throughout his career, is also just 102 stops shy of surpassing Paul Picciotti’s (1998-01) career mark of 388.

Damon led the CAA in tackles with 124 en route to earning Sports Network All-America and All-CAA Third Team honors.

The Rams open the 2010 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 2 as they travel to Buffalo to take on a Bulls team, which claimed the 2008 Mid-American Conference title. The Rams open their slate at home on Sept. 18 as they welcome NCAA playoff participant New Hampshire. In its last three meetings with New Hampshire, URI has racked up over 500 yards of total offense.

Here is your chance at winning a mini-helmet of the CAA Football Team corresponding to the day in the 10T/10D series. Follow CAA Football on Twitter and @reply us with your answer or go to CAAFootballblog.com and hit the comment link to file your answer and keep checking back to learn if you’re the winner. Prize packs will be awarded to the first correct response!

10T/10D TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Prior to joining the Rhode Island coaching staff in 2008, what other CAA Football program did current Rhode Island head coach Joe Trainer work for from 1997-2004?