Most FBS football programs schedule an inferior FCS opponent in Week 1, but the Syracuse University football program decided to wait until Week 2. On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the University of Rhode Island travels to SU to take on the Orange at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (1-0) are looking to build off of last Thursday's thrilling, come-from-behind, overtime victory, 36-29, over Wake Forest, while URI opens its 2011-'12 campaign.
If your an SU fan and don't know much about the Rams, well, you're not alone. However, here's a brief scouting report to get you prepared for Saturday's contest.
Opponent: University Of Rhode Island Rams.
Last season: The Rams finished with a 5-6 overall record and 4-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Entering this season, Rhode Island returns 18 starters, 11 on offense, and are predicted to finish eighth out of the 11-team CAA.
Head Coach: Joe Trainer
In '10, Trainer led the Rams to their most wins since '01, including three against Top-25 opponents. That resume was good enough to help the third-year head coach earn the CAA's Coach Of The Year.
Offense: The Rams return all 11 starers from their 2010 squad, including sophomore quarterback Steve Probst. Last season, Probst (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) passed for 1,876 yards, while also compiling 600-rushing yards. Probst's performance was good enough to help him make the CAA Football Preseason All-League team.
In the back field, URI features junior Ayo Isijola (5-10, 210), who last season rushed for 455 yards and three TDs. Meanwhile, sophomore Travis Hurd (5-8, 180), who made the CAA's Preseason All-League Team as a kick returner, will also get some carries.
Defense: Last season, this unit was pretty good against the run finishing third in the CAA (126.4 yards per game). Returning from that group is defensive linemen seniors Willie McGinnis (6-3, 303), Matt Rae (6-4, 290) and Matt Sheard (6-2, 260). That trio's experience will need to make up for a line backing corps that features three new starters. The defensive backfield features saftey Darrel Dullany and Ahkiel White, a transfer from Bucknell University.
Conclusion: Trainer maybe helping the Rams turn it around at the FCS level, but his team should be no threat to the Orange, who will travel to the west coast to take on the USC Trojans next week. If the Orange starters are out by halftime then SU fans will be happy.