The Rhode Island Rams will be heading back to the friendly confines of Meade Stadium in search of their first win of the season tomorrow. And it will certainly be a challenge against one of the better defenses in the CAA. Rhody welcomes the 2-4 (0-2) Richmond Spiders to Kingston tomorrow afternoon, and while we predicted a loss in this one, it’s certainly a winnable game. Richmond is not as good as originally expected, so let’s see what the Rams need to do to pick up a W.
1. Keep Up the Offensive Intensity
Last week, the Rams kept the pressure on the UNH defense, going for the two-point conversion on their first touchdown and subsequently going for an onside kick. While neither were successful, it was great to see Rhody get aggressive with their play calling. They’ll need more of the same against the Spiders’ defense.
2. Stay Active in the Secondary
Richmond has just two wins on the season, but they’re scoring points thanks to their passing game. Quarterback Michael Strauss is coming off a 423-yard, two-touchdown game against the James Madison Dukes last week, and that was after a 333-yard game two weeks ago versus Maine. The Rams defense will need to mitigate the Spiders’ advantage through the air, even if it’s just a big tipped pass or two.
3. Reignite the Running Game
In their first game without Justin Semmes, URI couldn’t get much of anything going on the ground last week. That will certainly need to change this week and beyond for the Rams to get back in the win column. And it can’t just be from Bentsen; Justin Sebastian and Robbie Delgado will have to sustain a ground attack to keep Rhody versatile on offense.
4. Get All Receivers Involved
Onto a strength from last week – URI quarterbacks completed passes to seven different receivers against New Hampshire, putting together one of their best passing performances of the season. Robbie Jackson was obviously the star, but Jawaun Wynn, Ross Kim, and Josh Gross all recorded multiple receptions in the Rhode Island loss. If Bentsen can spread the ball around again, he could have a big day against the Spiders.
5. Win the Field Position Battle
This is always a key against a tough defense. Anthony DiPaula has been big in the punting game for the Rams, but they’re going to need more (or less?) than good punts to top Richmond. Sustained drives, smart play calling, and aggressive decisions will all be necessary for a URI win.
So can they pull it off? It’s no doubt going to be tough, but the Rams can potentially steal a win in front of their home crowd. They’ll likely have to play their best game of the season to do it.