For the Rhode Island Rams, it’s no longer about ending a losing streak. Finally. Instead, Joe Trainer and the URI football team can now set their sights on building a winning streak. A winning streak!!
Rhody is on the road against a CAA foe once again as they take on the William & Mary Tribe tonight. W&M comes into this one at 2-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to the FBS West Virginia Mountaineers. So this one will no doubt be tough, but we predicted a Rhode Island win when we previewed this one. Let’s look at what the Rams need to do to prove us right.
1. Use Existing Momentum
There may not be a team in all of college football that’s in higher spirits than the Rhode Island Rams right now. Rhody has the proverbial monkey off their back, which hopefully means they can relax a little bit while still playing some solid football. If they can start putting wins together in bunches… watch out.
2. Limit Tribe Running Game
William & Mary’s clear strength on offense is running the football. The Tribe are averaging 208.0 yards per game on the ground so far this season, so the URI offensive line needs to be ready to do work in the trenches. Sophomore Mikal Abdul-Saboor is leading the way with 214 yards rushing this season… and he’s only played in two games. Abdul-Saboor has tallied three touchdowns at an insane 6.7 yards-per-carry clip.
3. Stretch the Field Early
Much like on offense, the Tribe’s defense excels in the running game as well. Meanwhile, Rhody has been moving the ball on the ground with short passes and screen plays mixed in. That may not work tonight; Bob Bentsen and the Rams need to display their willingness to go deep right from the get-go to open up their short game.
4. Force Graham to Make Plays
William and Mary quarterback Michael Graham has been pretty solid so far this year, but he’s clearly benefited from the Tribe’s stellar rushing attack. If URI can hold it down up front and make the senior QB beat them, it could work out will for Joe Trainer’s squad. Graham threw the ball just 17 times for 146 yards last weekend, and he has tallied just two touchdown passes in the first three games.
5. Tighten Up Kicking Game
Make no mistake about it – Rhody’s kicking game has improved by leaps and bounds since opening day. Anthony DiPaula has solidified the punting game, and kicker Dylan Smith has been near perfect. But Smith missed a potential game-winning 33-yard field goal at the end of regulation against Albany, then missed an extra point in OT which could have proved crucial. Don’t get us wrong, Dylan has been HUGE for URI this year. But cashing on the freebies is always important for a winning (!!!) team.
Two in a row? Is it even possible? We think so, but we want to know what you think. Let us know in the comments!