W&M vs. Towson Recap & Richmond Game Preview

William & Mary dropped its seventh straight game on Saturday, losing by a score of 26-14. The Tribe jumped out to a 14-12 lead, but the Towson Tigers would score the final 14 points of the contest to come away with the victory. While we at the Blog expected this to be a “rebuilding” year, we certainly did not think it would be this bad. I think we join all other Tribe fans in hoping that W&M pulls out a victory in the final game of the season vs. rival Richmond this weekend, breaking the Green and Gold’s current seven-game losing streak. Below, check out our “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” from this past week’s game vs. Towson, as well as a brief preview of this weekend’s game at Richmond. Roll Tribe Roll!

The Good

  • W&M out-gained its opponent on Offense: Yes, you read that correctly. On Saturday, William & Mary rushed for more yards, passed for more yards, and possessed the ball for 10 more minutes than the Towson Tigers. In fact, W&M out gained Towson 316-238 — by nearly 100 yards. We may be wrong, but it certainly feels like this was the first CAA game that the Tribe out-gained the opposition on offense, so kudos to the Tribe offensive unit on that one. Some may ask: How did Towson win if W&M’s offense did better? Here is your answer: Towson won the turnover battle (+1), and had a 62-yard punt return TD; both of which were enough put away the Tribe.
  • William & Mary Defense: Almost a weekly lock for our “Good” section, W&M’s defense, again, did not disappoint. After giving up a touchdown on Towson’s opening drive (in which the Tigers started at the W&M 21-yard line following a fumble), the Tribe defense forced an interception and three straight punts before halftime. On Towson’s second touchdown drive, they started at the W&M 38-yard line. And on Towson’s third touchdown drive, they started at the W&M 2-yard line following an interception by the Tribe. It’s hard to blame the W&M defense for most any of the points given up in this game. The worst starting field position Towson had on one of their touchdown drives was the W&M 38-yard line. It’s always tough to ask the defense to perform on drives that start that deep within W&M territory.
The Tribe defense swarmed on Saturday, but the Green and Gold still came up short. [photo via @WMTribeFootball Instagram]

The Bad

  • The Opening Drive of the Game: W&M looked good on its opening drive, taking it to the W&M 48-yard line after a couple of nice rushes and a 12-yard pass to tight end Andrew Caskin. However, on 2nd and 3, W&M QB Tommy McKee was sacked and fumbled the ball away; Towson promptly recovered the ball. To make matters worse, the Tigers recovered and returned it down to the W&M 21-yard line. How you start a game is typically crucial to the overall outcome — it sets the tone for the rest of the game. And in that department, W&M couldn’t have started much worse. Towson would go on to score in 5 plays, putting the Tigers up 7-0 just 4 minutes into the game. All season long, W&M has had slow starts to games, and it was no different in this one.

The Ugly

  • William and Mary Scoring Offense: After its game against Towson, William & Mary has now fallen to LAST in the CAA in scoring offense. The squad averages a meager 14.5 points per game, and those numbers are inflated due to wins over Bucknell (30 points) and Norfolk State (20 points). In CAA games, W&M averages just 12.1 points per game. It’s hard to win when you score just 12.1 points per contest. Not to mention, W&M hasn’t scored more than 18 points in a CAA game yet.

Around the CAA

Villanova suffered a shocking loss to Rhode Island on the road, as they fall to just 2-5 on the CAA season. Stony Brook continues its winning ways, and now has a 4-game win streak. UNH squeaked out a victory at home over Elon, snapping a previous 8-game win streak by the Phoenix. Delaware beat Albany and is quietly sitting at an impressive 5-2 in CAA play and 7-3 overall (we see you Danny Rocco). JMU came away with a close victory at home over Richmond.

Look Ahead

Moving ahead, this weekend is Championship Weekend for the CAA, as three teams will compete for the CAA Championship. JMU has already clinched at least a share of the CAA title, but they face off against Elon this weekend on the road; this game will be for a share of the CAA Championship (similar to W&M vs. Richmond a couple years back). If Elon can get the victory at home over JMU, and if Stony Brook beats Maine, there would be a three-way tie for the CAA Championship, with JMU, Elon, and Stony Brook all nabbing a share of the title (similar to 2015, when W&M, Richmond, and JMU were co-champs).

As is the custom with the last game of the season, W&M will face off against arch-rival Richmond, in their house. While this is likely a meaningless game for both (in terms of playoff hopes, both teams are basically out of the picture), W&M will look to keep the famed Capital Cup in Williamsburg for a second consecutive year. The team will have its hands full, however, as Richmond will be at home, still featuring one of the top QBs in the league (and all of the FCS) in Kyle Lauletta.

 
Richmond this Year

Current CAA Rank: #6 of 12

Record: 5-5 (3-6 CAA)

Stats:

  • Total Offense: 1st of 12
  • Scoring Offense: 2nd
  • Rushing Offense: 10th
  • Passing Offense: 1st
  • Rushing Defense: 11th
  • Total Defense: 11th

This might just be a perfect matchup for W&M to end the season. On the one hand, Richmond, led by Kyle Lauletta, have the top total offense (in terms of yards per game) in the league, the second-ranked scoring offense, and first-ranked pass offense. W&M’s defense has looked great all season, but will be put to the test against one of the top offenses in the CAA — if not the top. We are curious to see how the unit holds up, as it will be telling of just how good this Green Swarm unit is.

Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta can really sling it; W&M’s defense will have its hands full on Saturday. [photo via richmondspiders.com]
On the other hand, Richmond has the second worst defense in the league. This game will show just how good (or bad) the W&M offense really is. Against the second-worst ranked defense, one would figure the W&M offense would finally be able to get things going. If not, the state of the offense should be alarming for Tribe fans going into the offseason.

Viewing: When and Where

 

Time: Saturday, 3:00 PM
Location: Robins Stadium (Richmond, VA)
Watch: Spider TV — find the link here!

Prediction

Tribe 24, Richmond 27

We predict W&M’s defense does its part shutting down Richmond’s high-powered offense (or at least manages it), but a couple of costly turnovers by the W&M offense might just give Richmond the ball deep in W&M’s territory. However, we do think W&M will get more than 18 points in a CAA game for the first time this year, so there’s that. We hope our prediction is wrong, and that W&M keeps the Capital Cup in Williamsburg two years in a row, ending the season on a high note. LET’S GO TRIBE!!!

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