This one is not going to be easy. The Rhode Island Rams head to Norfolk, Virginia this afternoon to take on the 5-3 Old Dominion Monarchs. Rhody is looking to halt a one-game losing streak against a team that’s heading to the FBS next season. For now, ODU is an FCS independent before making the jump to Conference USA next season, which explains why they don’t have an in-conference record. Not surprisingly, we predicted a loss in this one; the Monarchs are set to jump to the next level and they’ll have their home crowd behind them. If URI is going to grab a win, they’ll have to play one of their best games of the season.
1. Score First
The numbers don’t exactly prove this. Old Dominion is 2-1 when they scores first and 3-2 when the opposition scores first. In essence, it doesn’t really matter. But the Rams aren’t expected to win this one, so getting on the board before the Monarchs could really put some pressure on the home team. If Rhody forces ODU to come from behind, it could open up a lot of options for them.
2. Slow Down Heinicke
Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke could prove to be a handful for the Rams. The junior had 19 touchdown passes on the season, and is averaging 341 yards per game through the air. Bear in mind, the Monarchs have played just eight contests on the season. URI’s secondary has to turn in an exceptional performance if they’re going to come away with a W.
3. Hold On To the Football
This one (hopefully) won’t be too difficult. ODU hasn’t forced a turnover since October 5 as their defense hasn’t been exactly stellar this year. The Rams can’t give the home team any extra chances this afternoon, so ball security needs to be at a premium.
4. Dominate Time of Possession
This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with hanging on to the football, but Rhody needs to keep Heinicke and the Monarchs offense off the field. URI did win the time of possession battle last weekend against Delaware, but it didn’t exactly work out in their favor. All that means is that the Rams need to hold onto the ball even longer this week than they did against the Blue Hens.
5. Stay Aggressive
Rhody has been known to pack it in at times when they’ve been trailing by several touchdowns this season. That can’t happen this week. Let’s face it – URI has nothing to lose. This a game that they’re not expected to win. They need to keep the foot on the gas on both sides of the ball. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the worst thing in the world.
So what do you think – can Rhody pull off a huge win against a team moving up to the FBS next year? Let us know in the comments!