Final Score: NC State 23 – Richmond 21
What Happened: After leading for the majority of the game, Richmond suffered a heartbreaking loss to the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday night. For many FCS teams, such a close game against A BCS conference school would be a moral victory, but this Richmond team expected to win. Richmond led for the majority of the game, in large part because of Michael Strauss’ exceptional play in the first half. The Richmond offense failed to click in the 2nd half and the defense could only hold off the Wolfpack for so long. Richmond had a chance to seal the game when it had the ball and a one point lead with three minutes remaining, but failed to pick up the needed first down to run out the clock. NC State moved the ball quickly down the field, as it had done all night, and nailed a 48 yard field goal with only seconds remaining. Richmond’s last efforts to salvage a victory came up short.
Spider Positives: Richmond looked fantastic in nearly all aspects of the first half. Michael Strauss, who picked apart NC State’s defense throughout the first half, will win many games for Richmond this year if he can play close to as well as he did in the first half during the rest of the season. The emergence of Cornell transfer Shane Savage, who did not do much against VMI, shows how deep the Spiders’ receiving core is. The linebacker duo of Aaron Roane and Eric Wright, 11 and 12 tackles respectively, made many big plays tonight.
Spider Negatives: The offense that looked great in the first half was unrecognizable in the second half. Richmond managed to gain 56 yards in the second half and failed to score. Stephen Barnette, who had 94 receiving yards in the first half, did not record a catch in the second half. The defensive line, who I expected to lead the defense, could not handle Thomas’ scrambling. It seemed like every third and short Thomas would run through or around the defensive line and pick up the first down. Ben Edwards, the Spiders’ most decorated player, left the game in the 1st quarter and did not return. Edwards did say he will be alright, but you never want to see one of your best players go down.
Up Next: Next week, Richmond travels to Boiling Springs, N.C. to take on Gardner Webb.