The Rhode Island Rams (0-2, but you already knew that) will head on the road to take on the Albany Great Danes (1-1) tomorrow night in the first ever game at UA’s new Bob Ford Field. Will the losing streak continue, or will Rhody finally bust out of it and grab a win? When we previewed this contest earlier this summer, we pegged Rhody to fall in this one. But things have certainly changed since the season started. Albany has played a pair of tight games in their first two (both against fairly middle-of-the-road opponents), and the Great Danes may not be as good as we thought they’d be. Let’s see what the Rams need to do to get in the W column:
1. Build Off Strong Defensive Performance
They’re just two games into the 2013 season, but URI has struggled to put a solid game together on both sides of the ball so far. The key for Rhody this week will be to not let up defensively. The Rams kept Stony Brook at bay last weekend and gave the offense a chance to get back into the game – a far cry from the shootout against Fordham in the season opener. We’ve seen both sides of the coin now from the URI defense; we’ll learn a lot more about how good they really are tomorrow night.
2. Control Osbourne
We mentioned Great Danes’ running back Omar Osbourne as a player to watch when we previewed this game, and he’s certainly earned that title so far this season. The junior rushed for 252 yards (!!!) and a pair of touchdowns last week in Albany’s win over Colgate. Rhody has done a decent job against the run so far, and tomorrow will be another test in the trenches.
3. Re-Ignite Running Game
After a strong performance on the ground against Fordham, URI’s running attack vanished last weekend against Stony Brook. The Rams’ offense cannot afford to become one-dimensional against the Great Danes this week, so getting Delgado, Sebastian, and even Bentsen going on the ground has to be a priority tomorrow night.
4. Force Fiacchi Into Mistakes
While he was relatively accurate a year ago, Albany quarterback Will Fiacchi has struggled a bit through the first two games on 2013. The 6’3″ junior has been intercepted twice and fumbled once over his two starts this season, and Rhody needs to take advantage. The Rams have yet to force a turnover so far in 2013; they’ll need at least one if they’re going to top the Great Danes.
5. Hang on to the Football
While they haven’t been forcing turnovers, URI has put the ball on the ground a few times. Rhody fumbled three times last weekend against Stony Brook… and Albany forced three fumbles in their contest against Colgate. Ball security should be Rhode Island’s top priority coming into tomorrow night.
So does it end tomorrow night? Or do the Rams drop their 16th straight game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!