The Rhode Island Rams take to the road to meet up with the Ohio Bobcats for some Week 1 college football action on Saturday.
The game (2 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it right here via ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of most MAC football games every week, other college football and live sports, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Rhode Island vs Ohio live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Rhode Island vs Ohio Preview
Rhode Island features some experience at the skill positions on offense and looks to be one of the more explosive offenses in the FCS. With a sturdy line as well, the Rams look to be an FCS offense capable of giving fits to some of the smaller FBS programs. While Ohio boasts a strong defense that should give the Rams trouble, it should be exciting to see what their crew of veteran playmakers is capable of producing against one of the NCAA’s stronger statistical units.
On defense, the Rams were subpar last season and need to do a better job of creating consistent pressure rather than hoping to create a turnover. While they did do an excellent job at getting the ball back, an improved pass rush should help tremendously for the times when the secondary can’t come up with a big interception. Though the Rams might be a bit overmatched against an FBS level opponent, especially one featuring a standout dual-threat quarterback.
Longtime MAC standout running back A.J. Ouellette is FINALLY on the out in Athens as well as the change of pace back Maleek Irons, leaving a gaping hole in the running game that the Bobcats need to address. Ohio also loses a number of receivers as well as core offensive linemen, leaving question marks at nearly every major position. Quarterback Nathan Rourke has steadily improved in each of his college seasons and should be primed to take on a much larger leadership role within the offense. If the Bobcats want to recapture any of their offensive success from last season, consistent play from the elite dual-threat Rourke will be key to an effective transition.
Defensively, Ohio should be much improved from last season – where they already were a pretty solid unit. Where last year they featured almost an entirely new set of starters, this year features considerably more stability as the young players who got their feet wet last year come back with some experience under their belt. Don’t be surprised to see the Bobcats take a step forward as one of the better defensive teams in the nation this season.
While the Rams undoubtedly have talent, that talent shouldn’t be enough to keep pace with Nathan Rourke. Expect a big day for the MAC standout against an undermanned URI defensive unit as the Bobcat defense is able to hold the Ram’s explosive offense in check.
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