Final Score: Richmond 31 – James Madison 38
What Happened: After only trailing 7-6 at the half, James Madison blew out Richmond to start the second half. JMU returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown to put the Dukes up 14-6. JMU went on to score two more touchdowns in the quarter while Richmond only scored on a field goal, which gave JMU a 28-9 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Despite having good opportunities to score throughout the first three quarters, Richmond scored its first touchdown on a 5-yard pass to Seth Fisher early in the fourth quarter. JMU then went on to score the next 10 points, including a 39-yard touchdown pass, to take an 38-16 lead. Richmond scored two consecutive touchdowns (with failed two-point conversions) and made a field goal to cut the Duke’s lead to 38-31, but it was too little too late for the Spiders.
Spider Positives: Not a whole lot went well for the Spiders today, especially in the second half. The biggest highlight has to be how well the Spiders run defense played. Richmond’s defense held Dae’Quan Scott, one of the nation’s leading rushers, to 42 yards on the day. WR Reggie Diggs, who had 8 receptions for 136 yards, had one of his best games in a Richmond uniform. Ben Edwards, who had 83 yards and one touchdown on 13 receptions, played great as he usually does. Because Richmond’s offense couldn’t find the end-zone early in the game, Brandon Jordi was called into action, and he went four for five on his field goal attempts.
Spider Negatives: Richmond’s offensive performance today reminded me a lot of its performance against Maine. The Spiders’ offense was able to get the ball deep into JMU territory several times throughout the game, but it found multiple ways, such as penalties and dropped passes, to stall. Strauss, who played great given the amount of pressure that was put on him, set a school record for pass attempts with 64 attempts. This record shows what little faith Rocco has in the run game. Some of Strauss’ decisions, such as his 3rd quarter interception, were not the best and cost the Spiders greatly. JMU quarterback Michael Birdsong, who threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, tore Richmond’s defense apart. Losing WR Stephen Barnette is very concerning for the Spiders, as he has been one of Richmond’s most valuable players this season.
Up Next: Richmond will try to bounce back next week when it travels to Kingston, R.I., to take on Rhode Island.