The countdown rolls on, Rhody fans. The Rhode Island Rams football season begins just seven weeks from tomorrow, so we got some previewin’ to do! URI’s third game of the season is a tough road match-up against the Albany Great Danes, who will be coming over from the NEC to join the Rams in the CAA this season. And as co-champions of the NEC last season, the Great Danes will be no slouch. Let’s have a look.
2012 Record: 9-2 (7-1 in the Northeast Conference)
Key Losses: RB Drew Smith, WR Ryan Kirchner, LB Jon Morgan
Key Returners: QB Will Fiacchi, WR Cole King, S Justinian Mason
Player to Watch: RB Omar Osbourne
While Albany will be without their star running back from a year ago, they have to feel pretty confident that they can replace Drew Smith’s production last season. The senior tallied 1,011 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, so it has to be a huge loss, right? Enter Omar Osbourne. As a back-up to Smith, the upcoming junior tallied 518 yards on the ground at a 4.7 yards-per-carry clip, and rushed for five TDs of his own. This season he’s set to do a bulk of the work out of the backfield, so he should see a drastic improvement in those numbers. Limiting his yardage needs to be a top priority for Rhody in September.
Prediction: Albany 35 – Rhode Island 10
The Great Danes are returning most of their key skill players from a year ago, and they remain too good and too deep for the Rams to handle. Albany should be able to handle what URI throws at them on both sides of the ball, so expect the home team to take an early lead and never look back.