Final Score: University of Richmond- 28, Villanova University- 17
What Happened: Richmond’s senior cornerback Daryl Hamilton picked the perfect time for his first interception of the season. With the Spiders leading, 21-17, with less than 3 and half minutes to play, Hamilton stepped in front of a pass by Villanova quarterback John Robertson to give the Richmond offense a first a goal from nine yards out. UR quarterback John Laub finished the game off by running for the touchdown from less than a yard away on fourth down to make it a two-score game. With the win, Richmond moved to 4-2 with a 2-1 CAA record, and broke a long streak of losing on the road against Villanova, picking up its first victory in Philadelphia, Pa., since 2000. The teams went into halftime tied at 14, with Richmond making plays with its ground game and Nova making plays through the air. After allowing Robertson to throw for more than 200 yards in the first half, though, Richmond’s defense stepped up and kept him under 100 yards passing in the second. Meanwhile, Laub upped his play in the second half, throwing for more than 150 yards and rushing for 30 more.
Spider Positives: This is the biggest win of the Danny Rocco era, period. Not only was this a CAA win on the road against a team that has always given Richmond trouble, but it’s also the first game where the Spiders held a slim lead heading into the fourth quarter (21-14). Richmond proved a lot to its fans and likely to itself in this game, serving as further recognition that Rocco has this team moving in the right direction. The second half is probably the best the defensive unit has played as a whole all season, and played a pretty effective first half as well. Overall, the defensive gameplan worked to perfection, keeping a Villanova team that has been known for its effective rushing game this season to just 152 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Richmond picked up 208 yards rushing after struggling with that part of the offense earlier this season. That total is helped by the three-headed monster on the ground of Laub (79 yds, TD), Jovan Smith (71 yds, TD) and Kendall Gaskins (53 yds, TD). Unfortunately, Smith was out for the entire half with an undisclosed injury, which hopefully isn’t too serious.
Spider Negatives: As well as Richmond’s defense played, it did have trouble containing Robertson, allowing him to rush for 117 yards. They also gave up a few big plays through the air, including Robertson’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Joe Price in the second quarter. The Spider offense also could’ve had more points, but shot itself in the foot several times with holding penalties in Nova territory. Nova also probably should’ve tied the game early in the fourth quarter when it had the ball inside Richmond’s 1-yard line, but a penalty and solid run defense forced them to settle for the field goal.
Up Next: The Spiders make the long trip next weekend to Durham, N.H., to face North Hampshire in another CAA matchup. Kickoff is set for noon in a game that promises to be an offensive shootout.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org