1) Senior Day- Saturday will mark the Spiders’ last home football game of the season, meaning it will be the last time we’ll see the team’s 14 seniors in uniform in Robins Stadium. Among the 14 are big-time players including fullback Kendall Gaskins, cornerback Darryl Hamilton, linebacker Darius McMillan, safety Cooper Taylor and injured quarterback John Laub. Coach Danny Rocco and the rest of the team would love nothing more than to cap off these guys’ home careers with a big win.
2) Progressing nicely- In his first two starts since taking over for Laub, sophomore Michael Strauss has thrown for 470 yards and 6 touchdowns in helping to lead the Spiders to two wins, including one over then-No. 2 James Madison. He has Spider fans excited about the future with him under center; will he continue his success against the Blue Hens?
3) Playoffs??! (Jim Mora voice)- Moving up to No. 20 in the rankings, Richmond, at 6-3, still has an outside shot at making the playoffs, but it definitely needs to win its final two games, starting with this one against a Delaware team that hasn’t lived up to preseason expectations. This game should’ve been an opportunity to beat another ranked team and impress the pollsters, but the Blue Hens have lost four of their last five games and dropped off the map. Nonetheless, the Spiders still need to do their jobs and defeat this team that still has a lot of talent.
What to Look for:
1) Howell’s pick party- Senior safety Doug Howell is a player who feeds off emotion. Playing his final game in Robins Stadium should get him hyped up enough. Howell leads the team and the CAA in interceptions with five, and he’s just always in the right position to make plays on the ball, so look for him to add to that total on Saturday.
2) Hurley hurling it- UD quarterback Trent Hurley is a talented sophomore transfer from a Division-I school (BGSU), very similar to Richmond’s current quarterback situation. Hurley is bigger than Strauss though, more comparable to Laub in size at 6’4”, 220. He’s got strong arm and the Spider defensive backfield has been vulnerable to deep throws this season, so look for the Blue Hens to let Hurley try a few long ones.
3) Edwards returns- Richmond receiver Ben Edwards doubles as the team’s punt return specialist. He has yet to break a long return this season, but he’s shown the ability to make guys miss, and he has breakaway speed. UD has questionable punt coverage, currently in 9th of 10 teams in the CAA in net punting. Look for Edwards to take advantage.
1) Blue Hens have the lead after the first quarter- The Spiders have started slow consistently this season, waiting until the second half usually before hitting their offensive stride. Meanwhile, Delaware has gotten off to quick starts, outscoring its opponents, 63-28, in first quarters this season. The combination spells trouble for Richmond, who may have to play from behind, something Strauss hasn’t had to do in his first two starts.
2) The Spiders will make all kicks- Given the kicking game’s recent struggles, this is truly a bold prediction. Remington Hinshaw is expected to be back as Richmond’s full-time field goal and extra point kicker after senior Wil Kamin missed two extra points against URI. Hinshaw responded in the second half making all four of his attempts. I think he got the message and will be more consistent this weekend.
3) Spider D holds Delaware under 50 yards rushing- The Richmond defensive line, anchored by junior Kerry Wynn, has been unmovable lately, holding its past three opponents under their respective season rushing averages. Meanwhile, UD’s star tailback Andrew Pierce, who rushed for 221 yards and 2 TD’s in the Blue Hens 24-10 victory over UR last season, is being reported as doubtful for the game.
Final Score Prediction- UR-31, UD- 21
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com