The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Richmond vs. Rhode Island Football Game Preview

Storylines:

1) Avoiding a let down- Coming off its big victory over then No. 2-ranked James Madison University, Richmond, now ranked No. 22 itself, needs to win this game to keep its momentum going and its playoff hopes alive. Coming off a bye week, the Spiders received a lot of questions about whether the week off hurt or helped them. They said they needed it, and it would help. We'll see Saturday afternoon.

2) Homecoming- It's Homecoming Weekend at Richmond. I've mentioned home field advantage from crowd support a lot in my columns, and most of what I've said can be summarized to say that the alumni have been loud and the students have been negligent, for the most part. Well, alumni will be here this weekend in droves, and I expect the rowdiest home crowd of the season.

3) Strauss, take 2- Sophomore quarterback Michael Strauss's first collegiate start couldn't have gone any better. He threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns, while avoiding any costly mistakes with no interceptions or fumbles. That was against a top-ranked defense. How will he fare against the less esteemed URI defense?

What to Look for:

1) The Barnettes- Both sophomores, receiver Stephen and safety Reggie, the Barnette twins are starting to establish themselves as playmakers on both sides of the ball. Stephen had his best game in college two weeks ago, piling up 144 yards on nine receptions and Reggie got a key interception. Richmond coach Danny Rocco said Strauss had established a connection with Stephen since training camp, so expect to hear both have their names called a lot on Saturday.

2) Ramming it through the air- Rhody isn't a running team, with no Rams runner topping 100 yards rushing yet this season. They've picked up the effort a bit in recent weeks, but this is still a team that gets most of its offensive production from its passing attack. Junior quarterback Bob Bentsen usually on the mark with his throws, and he has two very talented receivers in senior Brandon Johnson-Farrell and sophomore Robbie Jackson.

3) Roane-ing the field- Aaron Roane, the sophomore linebacker/defensive back hybrid, leads the Spiders in tackles after his 14 tackle performance against JMU two weeks ago. He was rewarded with Defensive CAA Player of the Week honors, and he deserved it. He was all over the field, and I don't recall seeing him miss a tackle yet this season. He should have another opportunity for another big performance against a quarterback who isn't particularly mobile and an offensive gameplan that calls for a lot of short throws.

Bold Predictions:

1) Jacobi Green hits paydirt twice- The freshman tailback has become the starter in the absence of injured junior Jovan Smith, and he hasn't made any huge plays yet, but the skill set is definitely there to break off a big run or two. He only has one TD so far this season. I see that number tripling against a soft run defense in URI, once on a long run in which he makes a few Rams defenders whiff.

2) Rhody strikes first- I believe Rocco when he says his team needed the week off, but he also rewarded the team with two extra practice days off last week. The rest will ultimately be good for the Spiders, but I think they come out a little flat in the first quarter and give the Rams life early on.

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3) Kamin kicks the extra points- After kicker Remington Hinshaw missed three extra points against JMU, Rocco said he would open up the starting kicker position to competition. He didn't announce who won, but I expect to see Wil Kamin running out onto the field after the Spiders first touchdown.

Final Score Prediction: UR- 40, URI- 17

Contact staff writer David Weissman at david.weissman@richmond.edu

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