NORFOLK, Va. -- Richmond tied the game with back-to-back to touchdowns in the second half, but No. 12 Old Dominion pulled away for a 42-28 victory Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
Doug Howell returned a fumble 96 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Spiders within six at 28-22 late in the fourth quarter and redshirt freshman WR Stephen Barnette used all 6-foot-3 of his frame to haul in a remarkable TD catch that knotted the game at 28-28 with 12 minutes remaining.
But the potent ODU offense under rookie QB Taylor Heinicke regained its lead on the ensuing possession with an 11-play, 71-yard drive then tacked on insurance with a late TD to seal the Monarchs' eighth win of the season.
Richmond (3-6, 0-6) played the game without four key defensive standouts as senior CB Tremayne Graham, junior S Cooper Taylor, DL Corey Jackson and sophomore DL Jacob Pierce all were sidelined with injury.
Senior QB Aaron Corp surpassed the 2,000-yard for the season by completing 24 of 43 passes for 256 yards and touchdowns to three different targets.
Sophomore WR Ben Edward finished with six catches for 68 yards and his five-yard TD grab pulled the Spiders within 18-15 in the second quarter, while junior TE Kevin Finney's TD catch - and the ensuing two-point conversion - put Richmond on the board at 11-8 late in the first quarter.
But two dazzling plays by the Spiders quickly erased a 28-15 ODU advantage and stunned the Ballard Stadium sellout crowd of 19,818.
With Old Dominion knocking on the door for what could have been a knockout blow, Heinicke scrambled for the goal line on second-and-10 at the 15. Heinicke, though, was tracked down by junior LB Darius McMillan, who stripped the ball, and the fumble was recovered by Howell. With a wall of blockers in front, Howell broke free from the pack and sprinted virtually untouched 96 yards for the score.
Old Dominion worked its way into long field goal range on the next drive, but Jarod Brown's 46-yarder fell short and Corp and the Spiders went to work again with good field position.
Junior FB Kendall Gaskins broke off runs of 17 and 12 yards to get the drive started and Barnette finished it off with a leaping, one-handed, highlight-reel snag out of mid-air on a bullet from Corp. Richmond missed the extra-point try and the game was tied at 28-28.
The Monarchs rolled up 587 yards of total offense in improving to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in CAA Football. Heinicke led the way with his 34-of-47 effort for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior LB Derek Mayo, making his homecoming to the Tidewater area, recorded a career-best 16 tackles, while fellow junior LB Darius McMillan - also a 757 native - made 10 stops and forced the fumble. Redshirt freshman S Reggie Barnette made his first career start and also set a career-high in tackles with 10.
ODU jumped out to an early lead, as Heinicke hit Larry Pinkard for a 14-yard TD and converted a two-point conversion to lead 8-0. After a Richmond punt, ODU extended the lead to 11-0 midway through the first quarter with a 37-yard field goal.
Richmond remains on the road next Saturday at Delaware, Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.