All season, the biggest goal for the Tribe defense has been simple – to make opposing offenses one-dimensional, taking away their ability to run the football and forcing them to take chances with the passing game.
They certainly did that Saturday.
The Tribe held Rhode Island to a school-record minus-46 yards rushing and sacked quarterback Chris Paul-Etiene six times on its way to an easy 39-14 victory in Kingston, R.I. The win was the College’s third straight, and improved the squad to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the CAA. It was the second time in the Tribe’s last five games that an opponent had been held to negative yards rushing.
Senior quarterback R.J. Archer was an efficient 18 of 23 passing for 175 yards and a touchdown, while junior tailback Courtland Marriner scored three touchdowns and tallied 93 of the Tribe’s 199 rushing yards on just nine carries.
It was the Rams who got on the board first, capitalizing on an early botched snap to take an early 7-0 lead on a 5-yard Paul-Etiene touchdown pass. After a three and out on the Tribe’s initial drive, junior punter David Miller watched the snap sail over his head, recovering at his own 26-yard line to set up Rhode Island.
But the College would answer by running off 37 straight points to seal the win.
Marriner capped a 4-play, 36-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run at the 1:51 mark of the first quarter. Then, with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, junior tailback Terrence Riggins scored on an 18-yard run to put the Tribe on top 14-7.
After a Rhode Island punt, the Tribe capped the half with a 13-play drive culminating in a 4-yard Archer touchdown pass to senior tight end Rob Varno.
Following halftime, Marriner scored his second touchdown of the afternoon on a 16-yard run on the opening drive of the third quarter, which, following a missed extra point, put the College up 27-7 and effectively iced the game.
A 39-yard Marriner touchdown run, a field goal from senior Brian Pate, and a late safety provided the final margin.
Overall, the day belonged to the defense, which held the Rams to a total of 149 yards. Senior defensive end Adrian Tracy added to his CAA-leading sack total with a first-quarter takedown of Paul-Etiene, his eighth of the season. Tracy also chipped in four tackles for loss, while sophomore defensive end Marcus Hyde added two sacks and junior linebacker Evan Francks led the squad with six tackles.
Miller was also outstanding on the afternoon, booming six punts for an average of 48.7 yards, including a season-long kick of 71 yards.