Two words: TRIBE WINS! It feels like an eternity since we last used the words “Tribe” and any variation of the word “win” in the same sentence, but boy does it feel good. On Saturday, William & Mary took revenge following last season’s loss to Delaware, this time defeating the visiting Blue Hens on Homecoming Weekend. The W marked the Tribe’s first CAA win this season. Moving forward, who knows what the rest of the season holds. But this win is exactly what the Tribe needed to gain some confidence and momentum to finish the season strong. Below we have our post-game analysis, featuring “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” from this Saturday’s game.
- W&M’s Resiliency: After notching a field goal on the team’s opening drive, W&M was held scoreless until 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter. But although that’s a long time without any points, the Green and Gold stormed back. Headed into the 4th quarter, W&M found itself down 3-14. Fans were frustrated, Zable was quiet, and everybody was thinking about the gloomy possibility of a 2-5 start. However, the Tribe responded. And in a big way. W&M would go on to score 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter alone to put Delaware away 24-17.
- Coming out Party for Jalen Christian: The freshman transfer and former University of South Carolina product finally showcased the full range his abilities on Saturday. We had been waiting for a game like this out of Christian ever since he set foot for the Tribe’s first game vs. NC State, in which he ripped off a couple impressive kick returns–flashing his speed and quickness. Against Delaware, Christian finished with 7 catches for 73 yards, including multiple clutch catches on 3rd down. Since getting over an injury he sustained against NC State, Jalen finally appears to be healthy, which is a really good sign for the Tribe. Imagine having two DeVonte Dedmons. That’s now what the Tribe has. We are looking forward to seeing what the duo of Christian-Dedmon can do for the rest of the season; it’ll be more than fun to watch.
- Aaron Swinton: Did we mention that this Tribe defense is talented? The unit continued to impress and prove wrong all the haters from the beginning of the year (including we at the WMSB who thought the offense would certainly be better than the defense). In this game, CB Aaron Swinton finished with 2 interceptions, including a 63-yard interception that he took to the house. More impressive was the timing of the pick six. Absolutely clutch. With 4 minutes to go, Delaware was driving and looking to score a TD. The potential TD would have tied the game up. But Aaron Swinton had other plans. He not only picked it off, but took it to paydirt. Incredible play.
- Slow Starts: Here is an interesting stat for you: Since CAA play started (4 games), William and Mary has scored a combined 12 points in the first quarter, and has not scored more than 6 points in the first quarter of any CAA game. Again, that means in 60 minutes of first quarter action, William and Mary has scored just 12 points. A slow start is bad for so many reasons, and this Tribe team needs to find a way to put up points on the board early. Doing so will help the overall team’s confidence and establish a winning attitude from the get go. More needs to be done to ensure this alarming trend is fixed, starting next Saturday.
- W&M’s Rush Defense: The Tribe D gave up 267 yards on the ground Saturday, which marks the second week in a row that the run defense has been shredded by opposing teams (JMU rushed for 329 yards). To be fair, JMU and Delaware are the two best rushing teams in the CAA. However, giving up 596 yards rushing in 2 weeks (298 per game average) is not a recipe for success. Good news for Tribe fans though is that William and Mary’s remaining opponents rank toward the bottom in Rush Offense, including Maine (10th), Stony Brook (8th), Towson (7th), and Richmond (9th).
Around the CAA
Albany lost its second straight CAA game, JMU pulled out a close one in Durham, and Richmond blanked Villanova. Stony Brook continued to impress in the CAA, and Towson lost a shocker to Dartmouth, who is now 2-0 against CAA opponents (defeating UNH earlier in the year).
JMU and Stony Brook remain perfect in CAA play, and Richmond showed their dominance by blanking Villanova. William and Mary moves up a couple slots due to its win over Delaware. All we can hope for at this point is for William and Mary to win out, and teams like Villanova/UNH to lose.
William and Mary heads into its BYE week before taking on Maine in 2 weeks. The BYE comes at a relatively good time of the year, as this team will get some much needed rest. The season is not over yet, but the team will need to be firing on all cylinders after the BYE to win out to have a shot at making the FCS playoffs. WE BELIEVE! ROLL TRIBE!