Before the season began, most Rhode Island football fans expected them to get better as the 2013 season progressed. But a combination of a tougher-than-expected schedule and a bevy of injuries have them heading in the wrong direction as the season comes to a close. The Villanova Wildcats dominated Rhody 45-0 yesterday afternoon in URI’s final home game of the season, dropping them to 3-8 (2-6) on the year. The Rams have now been outscored 111-14 over the past two weeks as they’ve struggled to even be competitive recently. A loss this lopsided lends itself to very little positives, but let’s see what Rhody can do to avoid a similar fate next week.
First up, the URI offense, which was about as bad as it can get. The Rams post just 88 yards of total offense and a grand total of four first downs in the game. Exactly zero of those first downs came in the second half in an incredibly poor effort by Rhody in Bob Bentsen’s final home game. Rhode Island was just 2-14 (14 percent) on third down on the afternoon and averaged 1.9 yards per offensive play from scrimmage. And it’s not like Villanova’s defense is elite; far from it. The Wildcats had allowed an average of 33 points per game over their last four contests coming into this one. Whatever went wrong, the coaching staff needs to figure it out, or the Rams are going to end their season in similar fashion next weekend.
As for the defense, it was no better. Rhody allowed ‘Nova to run all over them, to the tune of 338 yards on the ground. It resulted in only 11 pass attempted from the Wildcats… why would they need to throw when they were running at will? In addition, every Wildcats possession was as efficient as possible. Their longest scoring drive was 4:48, and that was a nine-play, 90-yard touchdown romp to put the game out of reach. So to recap, no offense, and no ability to stop the opposition. Feels like déjà vu all over again.
The good news is that the Rams have a chance to end the season on a good note. URI will close out their 2013 campaign when they head to Maine to take on the Black Bears. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.