The 100th football game between Rhode Island and Brown Saturday night at Brown Stadium will be a tough ticket. To sell, not to buy. Or, would you want to sit outside, possibly in the rain, to watch a pair of teams with a combined record of 0-6?
URI is 0-4, Brown 0-2, and all the hype in the world cannot mask the fact that both teams are struggling big time. URI did show improvement last week at Maine, losing by only 10 points after having been blown out in hits first three games. Brown has been a major disappointment, giving away scoring opportunities like Halloween candy in a 20-16 loss to Bryant and being humiliated, 53-27, last week at Harvard. The Crimson also crushed the Rams, 41-7, on Sept. 19.
Brown leads this series, 71-26-2. These teams first played on Sept. 29, 1909, at Andrews Field on the Brown campus. The Bears won, 6-0. They won again in 1910, 5-0. Brown won the first 16 games by shutout. URI did not get on the scoreboard until 1928, a 33-7 loss, and did not win until 1935, a 13-7 triumph. Brown won 21 of the first 23 games by shutout. The Bears have won the last four games.
One of the biggest upsets in the series occurred in 1985. URI was riding high, one of the best teams in the nation with a stellar passing attack. Days after Hurricane Gloria roared over the state, Brown coach John Rosenberg dropped eight players into pass coverage. They stymied URI’s All-America QB Tom Ehrhardt and his talented receivers, and Brown won, 32-27. Rhody won five in a row from 1988 through 1993, its longest winning streak in the series. The teams did not play in 1992 because of a scheduling conflict.
URI made the annual trip to Providence until 1981, when Brown ventured to Meade Stadium in Kingston for the first time. A weak Bears team won, 10-8. Brown and URI have alternated game sites since 1988.
The only certainty in the 100th game between these intrastate rivals is that one of them will win for the first time in 2015.
The pick: URI
BRYANT AT MONMOUTH
The 2-1 Bulldogs acquitted themselves well in a 31-17 loss to the top team in the FCS nation, Coastal Carolina, last week. They put up more first downs, 23-17, and yards, 438-404, than the Chanticleers while falling just fell short in the most important numbers of any contest, the final score.
Northeast Conference officials noticed Bryant’s effort, however, by naming running back Ricardo McCray of Middletown the offensive player of the week. He carried 15 times for 107 yards and a touchdown and amassed 190 all-purpose yards.
Bryant’s defense has forced seven turnovers while the offense has lost the ball only once, a turnover margin of 2.00 per game that ranks fourth in the nation.
Monmouth, 1-3, has lost to Holy Cross, Central Michigan and Fordham. The win was against Wagner. Bryant QB Dalton Easton should be able to exploit Monmouth’s shaky pass defense, which is allowing 259 yards per game.
The Pick: Bryant
CURRY AT SALVE REGINA
Curry has fallen on hard times since the days when former Patriots linebacker Steve Nelson was the coach and athletics director. This season the Colonels are 1-3 with an average margin of defeat of 29 points.
Last week Salve Regina dominated Coast Guard in total yards, 438-224, and time of possession, 36:38-23:22, but lost on a CG field goal with 3 seconds to play. Two turnovers and a missed PAT attempt also hurt the Seahawks, now 2-1.
The Pick: Salve Regina.
BOSTON COLLEGE AT DUKE
The Eagles have lost their quarterback, tight end and top running back for the season because of injuries. They may be 3-1, but two of their victories were against FCS teams.
The Pick: Duke
NOTRE DAME AT CLEMSON
Forget sixth-ranked ND’s 62-27 rout of Massachusetts last week. Playing No. 13 Clemson, 3-0, on the road will be a monumental challenge.
The Pick: Clemson
Last Week, 4-1. Season, 9-1.