#6/5 Villanova (4-1, 2-0) will host the Rhode Island (0-5, 0-1) this Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm ET, and with any luck you'll be able to head home around halftime. This one should be a breeze.
Last year, John Robertson ran for 4 TDs and Kevin Monangai punched in 2 more as the Wildcats easily ran over Rhody 45-0 in Kingston. Rhody recorded just 88 yards of offense.
Here's three things to know about the Rams:
They've got a new coach
Joe Trainer left the program after a 3-9 season and came home to coach the defensive line at Villanova (which has looked pretty good this year despite some big losses). The problem is likely due more to the overall talent pool in the program, something new head coach Jim Fleming is realizing through an 0-5 start.
Fleming spent some time on the Main Line in the late 90s as the defensive coordinator, but more recently is coming from UCF where he helped guide the program to the Fiesta Bowl last season. It's a big hire for Rhody, and hopefully one that will make the program more competitive going forward.
They've got a new quarterback
Bob Bentsen was servicable for Rhode Island, but they may have found someone to lean on going forward. Redshirt freshman Mack Lowrie is a big kid (6'4", 225) and he's had an encouraging start to the year despite all the losses. He's throwing for almost 160 yds/game with 5 TDs and 5 INTs - good for a 103.7 efficiency rating.
Lowrie is also a threat to run the ball, though at just 2.9 ypc so far he hasn't found much success. Lyle McCombs and Jordan Sebastien are the two primary rushers, but only McCombs has found paydirt so far this season.
Beware the wounded animal?
Dating back to last season, Rhode Island has now lost 9 straight contests with their last win coming at home against Richmond. They've also lost 22 straight road games dating back to 2010. Like all competitors, they're hungry to put an end to a bad streak like that.
However, it would take a series of very unfortunate events for Rhode Island to go on the road and beat one of the best teams in the country. If Villanova put their second unit in, this might be an entertaining game (which we might get in the second half), but let's apply the always-foolish transitive property here. Villanova beat Fordham 50-6. Fordham beat Rhode Island 54-7.
This one shouldn't be close.