Last Saturday night, Richmond (2-2) bounced back after consecutive losses to beat the Liberty Flames (2-2) 30-21, where head coach Danny Rocco coached before coming to Richmond.
“I told my football team that life is about choices,” Rocco said. “Life is about decisions. I said the best decision I’ve ever made is to come here to the University of Richmond to be your head football coach, and they responded in a very positive manner.”
Rocco awarded himself the team’s game ball after the game, he said. But the running backs were deserving of recognition as well.
Sophomore Jacobi Green carried the Spiders’ offense, running for a career-high of 181 yards on 24 attempts. Green’s longest run was a 53-yarder in the first quarter that set up a field goal. Running back T.J. Moon had 38 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Richmond put a lot of focus and intensity into the running game this week after the Spiders totaled 10 rushing yards in their loss to Gardner-Webb last week, and the players responded in a favorable way, Rocco said.
Liberty head coach Turner Gill said Richmond’s offensive line out-played Liberty’s defensive line, which was a bit of a surprise to him.
Heavy rain made passing the ball more difficult, and Richmond responded by running the ball more than it has all season. Green was up to the challenge, he said.
“When I was in high school, my coach always said rain is running weather,” Green said. “That always stuck with me, so when it started raining, I was like, ‘Yes, it’s my time.’”
Ben Edwards, who moved into sixth place for career receptions by a Richmond player, had nine catches for 101 yards and his first career rushing touchdown in his return following a head injury that kept him out last week.
“Missing last week really put things in perspective,” Edwards said. “I’m blessed that I just missed one week, but at the same time that one week was miserable for me.”
Edwards’ return was significant for the Spiders because he performs many roles for the team, Rocco said.
Richmond took the lead for good late in the first quarter on T.J. Moon’s first rushing touchdown, which put Richmond up 10-7. Richmond led 23-14 at the half.
Liberty running back Desmond Rice, who had 106 rushing yards on 12 attempts, and wide receivers Dante Shells and Gabe Henderson, who combined to have 13 catches for 134 yards, kept the Flames within striking distance throughout the second half.
Richmond defensive lineman Evan Kelly recovered a Rice fumble on Liberty’s five- yard line in the third quarter, which set up Edwards’ touchdown run. Wayne Pettus’ two second-half field-goal blocks and interception helped secure Richmond’s win in its final out-of-conference game.
Richmond’s win brings the Spiders back to .500 after losing its previous two games on late field goals.
“We had a bitter taste in our mouths after the last two games,” Green said.
Richmond begins conference play in Robins Stadium against the Maine Black Bears next Saturday.
Contact staff writer Jack Nicholson at email@example.com
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