Final Score: University of Richmond- 41, Gardner-Webb University- 8
What Happened: The losing streak is over, snapped at nine games for Richmond’s football program. After incliment weather delayed the start of this game 86 minutes, the Spiders staked claim to a big lead, 31-6, in the first half and coasting to the easy victory in the second. Multiple members of the offense had career days for Richmond, including quarterback John Laub (267 yards, 2 touchdowns), fullback Kendall Gaskins (4 total touchdowns) and tailback Jovan Smith (94 rushing yards). The Spider defense received a boost from the return of senior safety Cooper Taylor, who missed last week with an injured hand. The unit combined with the special teams to force three Gardner-Webb turnovers (two fumble recoveries, one interception). Just like last week, University of Virginia was expected to beat Richmond handily and did, Richmond was expected to beat the Runnin’ Bulldogs handily and did. This win was more important for Richmond though to get the team in the win column. This win also serves as Danny Rocco’s first as Spiders head coach.
Spider Positives: All three units made plays today. Laub took a giant step forward in taking control of this offense and stood in the pocket, took a hit and threw perfect passes on several occasions. He talked last week about the need for more offensive consistency, and he and the rest of offense had that consistency today. Ben Edwards, Gaskins and Stephen Barnette performed as the team has come to expect of them, and reciever Dominique Miller emerged today as a reliable target, along with Smith’s impressive game on the ground. Taylor’s presence was felt on defense, even if his individual stats don’t necessarily show it. The fact that the defensive line was also able to consistently get pressure on the quarterback was encouraging, especially against a veteran Gardner-Webb offensive line. Also, don’t overlook the performance of kicker Remington Hinshaw, who made both his field goal attempts and all extra point attempts. If he can give Richmond consistency in the kicking game, the Spiders as a team become a lot more dangerous.
Spider Negatives: In such a dominant performance, negatives can be hard to find. Richmond’s kickoff coverage broke down on a couple occasions, which was a problem against Virginia also. And though he responded well, Laub did begin the game with an interception, the second straight week he’s gotten off to a bad start. He’ll need to fix that tendency if Richmond can expect to compete with the top-level Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) programs this season. The Spider secondary also looked beatable often, bailed out by the front sevens ability to make Gardner-Webb quarterback Lucas Beatty uncomfortable. Also, snapping the ball is starting to become an issue, especially with the punting unit, which resulted in Richmond’s second safety allowed in as many games.
Up Next: Richmond (1-1) will travel across the state to Lexington, Va., where the Spiders will take on the Virginia Military Institute Keydets (1-1). Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com