W&M opens CAA play against Delaware

It’s only the fourth game, but fifth-ranked William & Mary faces a big test when it hosts Colonial Athletic Association foe Delaware Saturday night at sold-out Zable Stadium at Cary Field.

A victory for the Tribe, which enjoys their highest ranking in the polls since finishing third in 2004, would enable them to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1994. It would be their first victorious conference opener since 2004. Delaware is 2-1, its only loss coming to defending national champion Richmond, 16-15, when the Spiders blocked a short field goal with 38 seconds to play.

Less significant, perhaps, to coach Jimmye Laycock, a win would snap the College’s two-game home losing streak to Delaware while running its winning streak against the Hens to two straight.

The Tribe’s last home win over the Hens came in the 2004 national semifinals, where W&M rallied from a 31-10 deficit in the fourth quarter to collect an amazing 44-38 triumph in double overtime.

Senior quarterback R.J. Archer will lead the Tribe following what, statistically, might have been his finest career effort. Archer completed 15 of 20 passes against Norfolk State, for 153 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters of play.

Archer leads the conference with six touchdown passes, and is averaging 193 yards of total offense per game. Overall this season, Archer has passed for 466 yards, completing 47 of 80 attempts, with just two interceptions.

Archer has a lot of help in running back Jonathan Grimes, reigning CAA Rookie of the Year, who led the Tribe in rushing for the 10thconsecutive game (dating back to last season) by posting 73 yards on 14 carries against Norfolk State. The sophomore also added a pair of receptions and two kick returns totaling 27 yards.
 
Currently, Grimes is fourth in the league in rushing at 66 yards per game, and eighth in all-purpose yards, with a per-game average of 111. Sure-handed, Grimes has rushed 187 consecutive times without fumbling. Taking it one step further, Grimes has touched the ball 301 times (including receptions and kick returns) without committing a turnover.

Meanwhile, the Tribe defense is pounding the opposition, allowing just 240 yards per game. That’s the second-best mark in the CAA.