Injury-plagued Wildcats fall to last-place Rhode Island



Injured RB Matt Gudzak carries the ball in the Wildcats’ 35-0 shutout win in last year’s matchup against URI.

Alex Telma

The Wildcats turned in a disappointing performance in its penultimate game of the season. The usually porous Rams’ run defense held Wildcat running back Aaron Forbes to seven yards on eight carries. The Wildcats, as a team, rushed for one total yard. For the second week in a row, sophomore tight end Simon Bingelis hauled in a lone reception for a large chunk of the total offensive yards. 

The defense struggled as well, allowing 336 yards of passing and 80 yards of rushing. Rhode Island wide receiver Marven Beauvais went off for 152 yards and a touchdown (off a 71-yard catch). The only facet of the game they succeeded in was the turnover battle with both a fumble recovery as well as a pick while committing no turnovers of their own.

Looking ahead to next week, the Wildcats take on Delaware in the final game of a disappointing season. Delaware is solidly in FCS playoff contention, boasting a 7–3 record. In recent years, its program produced Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco as well as a few other NFL talents, all of whom have or currently play for the Ravens. 

Last week, Delaware crushed Albany 22–3, who beat the Wildcats 19–10 in overtime earlier this season). Their losses this season came at the hands of FBS Virginia Tech, James Madison and Towson.

The Wildcats defense is in for a tough game against a potent Delaware ground game. Last week, Delaware put up 256 yards on 54 attempts with a committee of running backs playing against an anemic University of Albany run defense. 

Both freshman running back Khory Spruill and redshirt junior quarterback Joe Walker turned in near 100-yard rushing games, with Spruill rushing for two touchdowns on 20 carries. 

The week before against Maine, Delaware featured the same relentless ground game and rushed the ball 49 times for a total of 184 yards and two more rushing touchdowns at Maine. They struggled in the passing game though, throwing for a total of only 51 yards against the Albany secondary. This should allow the Wildcats to really focus on stopping the run, as Delaware is definitely a run first team, with a full committee of very talented running backs.

The Wildcat offense, led by freshman quarterback Kyle McCloseky, are in for an equally difficult game.

Delaware have a rock solid run defense and held Albany to a total of 31 yards and Richmond to just 76 yards. The Wildcats allowed 95 yards and 175 yards respectively. 

Delaware secondary may be the most lacking part of a very complete and playoff ready team. That’s not to say that Delaware does not boast a very solid secondary, as they picked off Albany three times and Richmond twice for a +12 turnover differential this season. 

The Wildcats can’t make costly errors in the passing game because the Delaware secondary will punish them viciously, since this is one of the most talented defensive units in FCS football.

The Wildcats kickoff against Delaware Saturday at 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium.