Scouting Rhode Island
2009 Record: 1-10 (0-8 Colonial Athletic Association)
Last Meeting: Nov. 7, 1959
Buffalo- 41 Rhode Island- 6
All-Time Series: Buffalo 3-0
Three Rams to watch:
QB- Steve Probst- The junior transfer from Hofstra had a strong camp and passed senior Chris Paul-Etienne on the depth chart. Probst will make his first-career start against the Bulls. He is a dual-threat quarterback who played in seven games during the 2009 season at Hofstra. His ability to run will force the Bulls to stop both his throwing and running abilities.
LB- Matt Hansen- Coming off back-to-back 100 tackle seasons, Hansen is the heart of the Rams' defense. He is tough in the run game and could present a problem for the Bulls rushing attack. Hansen also added four sacks last season, providing URI with a pass-rushing threat. The Bulls will have to contain him if they hope for success on offense.
LB- Rob Damon- Damon combines with Hansen to provide a formidable one-two punch at the linebacker position. Damon led the CAA in tackles last season and earned third-team All-CAA in the process. He also added one interception last season. Damon recorded two sacks on the year and will present a tough matchup for the Bulls on Thursday.
The Bulls will win if… They execute on offense. Jerry Davis and company must click early and send a message to the Rams by taking their spirits early in the game. The Bulls must win the time of possession battle and force a few turnovers. On paper, this game shouldn't be close, but the Bulls must score at the end of their drives to prevent Rhode Island from developing any confidence.
The Rams will win if… Every Ram turns in an A-plus effort. It will take a complete team effort to beat the Bulls, and it starts at the quarterback position. Probst must make big plays in the passing game and avoid any mistakes. The game could turn very quickly if he gives the Bulls extra possessions. Rhode Island will also have to score early in the game to build confidence.
The Bulls have waited all summer for this game. They've put in the work necessary to succeed on Thursday. The team is motivated and excited to open the season at home. The spread offense should provide some big plays and showcase the big arm of Jerry Davis. I expect the defense to be overpowering and shut down the Rams' attack. Expect a blowout from the opening whistle.
Bulls- 42 Rams- 13
Senior Sports Editor
With their new offensive scheme in place, the Bulls will move the ball down the field quickly and efficiently. The inexperience of Rhode Island's quarterback will struggle against the best secondary in the MAC, leading to turnovers and good field position for the home team. I expect the Bulls offense to capitalize on their opponent's mistakes, scoring early and often.
Bulls- 45 Rams- 10
Asst. Sports Editor
This isn't Appalachian State, Villanova or any other competitive FCS team. This is Rhode Island, a bottom-feeder CAA team with a reduced athletic budget, plans to drop to a less-competitive conference in the future, and a current 10-game losing streak. UConn knocked the Rams off 52-10 last season and a repeat is likely. Expect a 20-plus point lead by halftime and an influx of walk-on players on the field for the Bulls in the second half.
Bulls- 41 Rams- 3