With the season set to kick off in 12 days, we figured it would be appropriate to give a game by game breakdown of this years schedule!! Check it out below.
Week 1 (September 5th): at Lafayette (6 PM)
Last year, the Lafayette Leopards came into Williamsburg and took a shocking 19-9 lead into halftime. The Tribe eventually woke up and posted a dominant second half performance in which it outscored Lafayette, 24-0, and allowed just 54 total yards.
While William and Mary could not seem to stop Lafayette’s running back Ross Scheuerman (he had 20 carries for 160 yards including a 72 yard touchdown run), the Leopards lost him to graduation, which is good news for the Tribe.
The Tribe DB’s better be on their game for this one, as junior quarterback Drew Reed is no slouch. Last season, he went 22/29 passing with 217 yards and a touchdown, and also added a touchdown on the ground. In his second year of starting, Reed figures to have a big season for the Leopards.
Week 2 (September 12th): BYE
This BYE week comes at an unfortunate time for the Tribe. Since it is just the second week of the season, the Tribe will most likely have very few injuries, and could have used the BYE later in the in the season (especially during the grueling CAA schedule). However, this does give William and Mary an extra week to prepare for their FBS opponent UVA Cavaliers. Perhaps the extra week will help in potentially replicating 2009?
Week 3 (September 19th): at UVA
We all remember 2009, where the Tribe came storming into Charlottesville and went away with a 26-14 victory. If you missed it, relive the moment here. However, we all want to forget the game in 2011, where the Tribe got embarrassed, 40-3.
This year, we are expecting a good game between these two schools that frequently compete academically but not athletically. The year William and Mary beat UVA, they forced 7 turnovers, including 3 interceptions (1 for a touchdown) by stud cornerback B.W. Webb, who went on to the NFL. This year, the Tribe will look to do the same.
The offense will try and ground and pound as much as they can, playing to William and Mary’s strength (the offensive line and running backs) while also keeping the UVA offense off the field. The defense will need to force turnovers, and special teams may play a large role in this game.
In games against FBS opponents, field position is critical to success. A lot will be asked of junior punter Hunter Windmuller in this game. The Tribe will greatly benefit if we continue to see the booming punts that we did last year and in the spring game.
Week 4 (September 26th): vs. Stony Brook
What a game this one was for the Tribe. Down 21-14 with 1:12 remaining, sophomore quarterback Steve Cluley connected on game-tying 52-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Sean Ballard with just 0:25 on the clock, forcing overtime. The Tribe went on to win in overtime on a Abdul-Saboor 13 yard run.
This will be the first home game for the Tribe, and Zable figures to be well attended for this one as it is also family weekend. This year, much like last, Stony Brook will be stingy on defense. It will be a good test for the Tribe team before taking on the likes of high powered offenses Villanova and UNH.
This is the William and Mary’s first CAA game, and is a must win for the Tribe. Losing to Stony Brook will make it very hard for W&M to have any shot of the playoffs, as the Tribe also takes on the top three ranked teams in the CAA in JMU, UNH, and Villanova later in the season.
Week 5 (October 3rd): at Delaware
I think it is fair to say the MAS ruled the day in the game against Delaware a year ago. He totaled a career high 198 yards on 37 carries, and 2 touchdowns. William and Mary dominated the time of possession, and while it was close up until the second half, the Tribe eventually cruised to a 31-17 victory. The defense also clicked in this game, as it totaled 5 sacks (2.5 by Tyler Claytor), 1 interception, and had a blocked punt (courtesy of DHC).
In another big game for the team, William and Mary will look to start the CAA schedule off 2-0 going into huge contests against Villanova and UNH in back to back weeks. This game is absolutely crucial for the Tribe to win. Delaware has question marks at quarterback, with senior Trent Hurley graduating. This Delaware squad also loses talented Tight End Nick Boyle, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 5th round of this years draft.
The Tribe defense will look to pounce on an inexperienced quarterback in this game, and should bring the pressure early and often. Perhaps they can replicate their monster sack total from last year in this one, and force some turnovers.
Week 6 (October 10th): at Villanova
This is a game we all want to forget from a year ago. Villanova quarterback John Robertson led the Wildcats on a game winning drive with under 2 minutes to go in the game. In a packed Zable (it was homecoming) the Tribe put up a very good showing, almost beating the top 5 ranked Wildcats in their sweet green on green uniforms.
Villanova quarterback John Robertson went on to win the Waltor Payton Award, an award given annually to the best player in the FCS. With Robertson returning to Villanova for his senior season, the Wildcats are the favorites to win the CAA. A win here would be HUGE for the Tribe and a big confidence booster going into the game against UNH. A loss could be seen as a “good” loss, especially if the Tribe keeps the game close.
Week 7 (October 17th): vs. UNH
If the Villanova game was one Tribe faithful wants to forget, then the game against UNH is one that should go unspoken. In this game, the combo of Andy Vailas and R.J. Harris were too much for the Tribe, who lost 32-3 in a nationally televised game.
Ever since Chip Kelly (of the Eagles) coached UNH, they have had a high powered offense year in and year out. This year, UNH returns starter Sean Goldrich at quarterback, who started all 9 games in which he played. Now fully healthy, Goldrich looks to have a big year for UNH. The Tribe defense will be tested early and often in this contest, and it may end up being a shootout, with junior quarterback Steve Cluley going head to head with Goldrich.
If the Tribe can somehow split the two games with UNH and Villanova, as well as win the two games against Delaware and Stony Brook, they will be sitting pretty for the FCS playoffs before their game against Hampton.
Week 8 (October 24th): vs. Hampton
The Tribe throttled Hampton last year, winning 42-17. It was never even close in this contest. However, the Tribe did struggle with wide receiver screens and short throws turning into big gains. They gave up a 54 yard touchdown run as well as a 50 yard touchdown pass in the game.
This year, the contest figures to be closer in what will be William and Mary’s homecoming game. Former UVA quarterback David Watford transferred to Hampton in the offseason, and looks to propel this Hampton offense. A dual threat quarterback, Watford will look to dominate against FCS opponents this year, much like Vad Lee did after transferring from Georgia Tech to JMU last year.
While it may be closer, we expect William and Mary to ultimately win this game. Hampton may have David Watford, but William and Mary is better across the board. They may not win 42-17, but the Tribe shouldn’t have a problem winning this one in front of a raucous crowd at Zable.
Week 9 (October 31st): vs. JMU
On a cold day in Harrisonburg, William and Mary was leading the Dukes 24-13 in the fourth quarter, only to see it go away when JMU scored 18 unanswered points. Quarterback Vad Lee led the Dukes to three straight scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including a two point conversion with less than a minute to play in the game, which ultimately sealed the deal for the Dukes on their homecoming day.
JMU will again be led by superstar Vad Lee. Lee, a transfer from Georgia Tech, took the FCS by storm last year, throwing for 3462 yards and 30 touchdowns while also running for 826 yards and 9 touchdowns. He will look to continue that success this year as he looks to prove to the CAA and the FCS that he is just as good if not better than Robertson.
The Tribe will look to slow down Lee in this one. If they can do so, they have a good chance at pulling off an upset here on Halloween. It would be a nice treat on Halloween for the Tribe to beat their rival Dukes.
Week 10 (November 7th): at Elon
Last season was Elon’s first CAA game against the Tribe. It was a rough one, as the Tribe edged a lowly Phoenix team 17-7. After scoring 17 points in the first half, the Tribe scored 0 points in the second half of the game. Luckily, the defense held Elon to just 7 points.
This will mark the first time that the two will meet on Elon’s campus as CAA opponents. Last season was Elon’s first year in the CAA, and with each year we project the Phoenix to get that much better. It’s only a matter of time before they put together a solid squad that will hang with most CAA teams.
After a rough stretch where the Tribe plays the top 3 teams in the league in a matter of a month, this game should provide the team with a much needed win going into Towson.
Week 11 (November 14th): vs. Towson
Last year’s win over Towson marked Jimmye Laycock’s 100th conference win as head coach of the Tribe. William and Mary poured it on in this game, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter before finishing with a 37-14 victory. Abdul-Saboor was his usual self, rushing for 141 yards on 23 carries.
The game this year will feature the conferences top two running backs in Mikal Abdul-Saboor and Darius Victor. Victor, a preseason all-American, was named a first team all-CAA player last season after rushing for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. Similarly, Abdul-Saboor was named as a first team all-CAA player with 1266 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 11 games.
Both defenses will have to stack the box as Towson and William and Mary will look to control the game on the ground. In this game, the running backs will be competing against each other to prove who is the true best running back in the league (we all know it is MAS).
Week 12 (November 21st): at Richmond
For two consecutive seasons, William and Mary has faced off against Richmond with a spot in the FCS playoffs on the line. Both years, the Tribe has come up short. Last year, William and Mary was defeated 34-20 in Williamsburg, behind Michael Strauss’ 291 yards and 2 touchdowns.
They say the third time is the charm, so perhaps if the Tribe finds itself in this situation in the upcoming year, they will come through. The game will be played in Richmond this year, so it would be nice to give the Spiders a taste of their own medicine by winning on their turf this year.
If William and Mary beats the team they should and doesn’t pull off any upsets, the team will be 6-4 going into the final game against Richmond. If they can pull off a win, they will stand at 7-4 and have a good shot at making the playoffs. If they can pull off an upset against one of either JMU, UNH, or Villanova, and win the games they are expected to, then the Tribe could be sitting pretty at 8-3. Thats where we at the Blog project this Tribe team to go, sitting at 8-3 and potentially hosting a playoff game.
With any luck last year, we could have beaten both Villanova and JMU, and that would of put us at 9-3 on the season. And call us crazy, but we think that this is the year that we will finally get over the hump and beat Richmond. We feel that having a year in the system will do wonders for the progression of junior quarterback Steve Cluley, and with a healthy offensive line and the best running back in the conference, the offense will be vastly improved from last year. We are beyond excited for this season, and can’t wait to see where this team takes us!
Let us know below in our poll how many wins you think the Tribe team will have this year! The season is just 12 days away! ROLL TRIBE!!!