On October 11, the Rhode Island Rams football team will have a chance to exact a little bit of revenge when they take on the Villanova Wildcats. Not only will they be facing a team that squashed them last season, but they’ll have a chance to send a message to their former head coach. After Joe Trainer was dismissed from URI, he moved on to become the Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator at ‘Nova. He was also at the helm last season when the Wildcats waxed Rhody 45-0. It was Villanova’s first shutout since 2010 as they held the Rams to a dismal 88 yards of total offense. It’s time to re-write the script – here’s how URI can do it.
2012 Record: 6-5 (5-3 in the CAA)
Key Losses: DL Rakim Cox, DL Antoine Lewis, DB Craig James
Key Returners: QB John Robertson, RB Kevin Monangai, WR Poppy Livers
Player to Watch: QB John Robertson
There’s really no debate here: out of all their opponents, ‘Nova quarterback John Robertson single-handedly did the most damage against the Rams last season. The then-sophomore ran for 133 yards and four first-half touchdowns as the Villanova Wildcats absolutely trounced the Rams. Robertson also passed for 179 yards, but he got things done mostly with his legs. That was the story of his season as well. The QB led Villanova in rushing with 1,405 yards on the ground to go along with 20 rushing TDs. Robertson also added 1,957 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air, cementing his status as a true dual threat. The Rams will have to do a better job on defense this time around, or they’re destined to get blown out once again.
Prediction: Villanova 31 – Rhode Island 13
‘Nova lost a fair share of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they’re returning much of their offense. And with Robertson still in the fold, it’s going to be an uphill battle for any defense, especially one that got jolted a year ago. Look for URI to keep it a little bit closer this time around, but it’s hard to see them matching up well with the Wildcats’ explosive offense.