Tomorrow evening will be a pretty big one for the Rhode Island Rams. Not only will they be trying to reach the .500 mark with their second straight win, but they’ll also be playing the 1,000th game in school history. Oh, and it just so happens to align with Rhody’s most common opponent over the first 999 – the Brown Bears. URI is coming off a huge 42-7 home victory over the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils last weekend, and now they’ll head to Providence to try and pick up their second road win of the season. We predicted a win for the Rams when we previewed this one over the summer, so let’s start breaking it down.
1. Keep the Momentum Going
Let’s face it – last weekend’s win was huge, certainly one of the most satisfying wins for URI fans in some time. From offense to defense to special teams, Rhody was damn near perfect against CCSU. Now they’ll have their second crack at putting together a winning streak this season. Can they stay on top of their game in front of a (semi) road crowd?
2. Slow Down the Bears Rushing Attack
Unlike the Rams, Brown has played only two games to this point in their season. But through their first two contests, the Bears are averaging over 200 yards and three touchdowns per game on the ground. Senior running back John Spooney is the guy to key on – he’s gone for 100+ yards and a pair of TDs in each game thus far.
3. Get on the Board First
The Bears have been involved in a couple of high-scoring shootouts this year, so it’s important for Rhody to strike first. If they can force Brown to come from behind, URI can control the tempo and give themselves a chance to execute as well as they did last weekend.
4. Force Donnelly to Make a Mistake
Brown quarterback Patrick Donnelly is coming off a three-interception game against the Harvard Crimson last Saturday. Couple that with the four picks from the Rams defense last week and Joe Trainer’s squad has a great shot to force some turnovers tomorrow. If Rhody can come up with a key pick or two (or four), it’ll go a long way towards their third win of the season.
5. Get Creative with Bentsen
If the Bears do one thing relatively well, it’s control the passing game. We’ve been critical of URI’s short passes and screen plays in this space, but that might be exactly what it takes tomorrow evening. If Bob Bentsen can dink and dunk Brown with high percentage passes, he could put together a huge game.
Game number 1,000. And although it’s on the road, it’s a safe bet that there’s going to be a good sized Rhody contingency on hand. Is a 3-3 record on the horizon? We’re less than 24 hours away from finding out.