Following University of Richmond’s 30-21 loss to Maine (4-1) on Saturday, head coach Danny Rocco said at that time, he did not have a good football team.
Richmond, which was ranked in the top 15 to start the season and was picked to finish fourth in the CAA, is now 2-3 and 0-1 in conference play.
“Most of my kids [fought], but not all of them did,” Rocco said.
Richmond had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Michael Strauss threw his third second-half interception in the end zone with 21 seconds remaining to seal the game.
“[Strauss] has such confidence in his ability to make a play that he will force a couple of things,” Rocco said. “That’s probably what happened there.”
Maine running back Nigel Jones, who had 115 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, and quarterback Marcus Wasilewski, who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, led the Maine offense.
Wasilewski said the players thought they had been very well prepared for the matchup with the Spiders and that the team executed its game plan.
Richmond wide receivers Ben Edwards and Stephen Barnette combined to have 258 yards on 21 receptions. Edwards also led the Spiders in rushing with 56 yards.
“We got to be able to take it to the next level as an offense,” Edwards said. “We have the ability… Today, we just had some rough spots.”
Rocco said both Edwards and Barnette had stepped up and helped carry the team Saturday.
Maine scored on its opening possession in the first quarter, but Richmond took a 10-7 lead into the half. Richmond took
the lead on a 17-play drive towards the end of the second quarter that stalled inside the 10-yard line. Richmond extended its lead to 13-7 on its opening possession of the second half on its second consecutive red-zone trip that ended in a field goal.
“We led the conference last year in red-zone defense,” Maine head coach Jack Cosgrove said. “We are proud of it, we preach it, we practice it a ton. We think it’s a premium.”
Rocco said he thought his team had a good plan in the red zone, but the team needed better judgment in that scenario.
Following Richmond’s field goal, Jones scored touchdowns on 18- and 46-yard runs to put the Black Bears up 21-13.
Richmond answered with a touchdown reception by Barnette and a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 21, but Maine responded four plays later with a 48-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Arthur Williams to take the lead for good.
Rocco said Richmond’s defense failed the team Saturday, but two goal-line interceptions by Wayne Pettus and Reggie Barnette prevented Maine from scoring more points.
Richmond has a bye this week and returns to action Oct. 12 at in-state rival James Madison University.
Contact staff writer Jack Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org