UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - Following an 83-minute rain delay, Richmond wasted no time in pouring it on Gardner-Webb in the Spiders' 41-8 rout of the Runnin' Bulldogs on Saturday at Robins Stadium. Richmond's 500th victory in school history was won in style thanks to senior RB Kendall Gaskins' career single-game high four touchdowns.
Gardner-Webb scored first when Brian Wittenberger intercepted redshirt senior quarterback John Laub's pass on the third play of the Spiders' opening drive. The Runnin' Bulldogs would gain no ground after starting at the Spiders' 25-yard line and settled for a 43-yard field goal by Trever Austin at the 12:49 mark.
The Spiders rebounded on the next drive when Laub connected with Gaskins on a 31-yard pass to the GWU 46-yard line. After redshirt sophomore WR Stephen Barnette's 19-yard reception two plays later and another 7-yard run by Gaskins, sophomore Remington Hinshaw nailed a 32-yard field goal to square the score at 3-3.
It was the Spiders' turn to capitalize on the ensuing kickoff when Demetrius Fairley fumbled on the return and redshirt sophomore DB DeShawn Holmes recovered at the 28-yard line to give the Spiders stellar field position. It would not be long before Richmond converted, as Laub hit junior WR Ben Edwards for a 27-yard pass to the 1-yard line and Gaskins would finish it off from there with a short run into the end zone.
It was more of the same just two minutes later when Richmond capped off its explosive first quarter with Edwards snagging a pass from Laub down the middle for a 47-yard touchdown to give the Spiders a 17-3 advantage. The score was Edwards' first of the fall.
Momentum remained on the Spider side in the opening minutes of the second quarter, as redshirt junior RB Jovan Smith unleashed on the Runnin' Bulldogs for a 54-yard run that initially appeared to be an easy touchdown had it not been for a last-second GWU tackle. Gaskins would again close the deal moments later with a 5-yard run down the middle for his second score of the night.
After Austin's 38-yard field goal trimmed the Richmond lead to 24-6 at the 9:15 mark, Gaskins continued what was a career night when he hauled in a 5-yard pass from Laub to send the Spiders into the half with a 31-6 lead. Gaskins' touchdown catch was his third career receiving score and his second in as many games, while Laub's second scoring pass marked a new career-best for the Spider starter.
The Spiders continued to flex their offensive muscle straight away in the second half. After Hinshaw split the uprights for his second field goal (37 yards) of the evening, redshirt sophomore DB Reggie Barnette picked off GWU QB Lucas Beatty for the Spiders' first interception of the 2012 campaign. Barnette's play would then set up a score by who else than Gaskins, who turned in his career single-game high fourth touchdown on another 1-yard run with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter.
The Runnin' Bulldogs tacked another two points on the board when they forced a safety with 26 seconds remaining in regulation.
Laub finished the night 14-of-24 for career-highs with 267 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with one interception. Redshirt sophomore Michael Strauss replaced Laub in the second half, going 4-of-8 for 22 yards.
Beatty went 16-of-31 with an interception for the Runnin' Bulldogs, while Exavier Johnson failed to complete a pass in his 0-for-3 second-half effort.
Smith led the Spiders with 94 rushing yards on 11 rushes, while Gaskins rushed 13 times for 30 yards and three touchdowns to go with a 5-yard receiving score. Freshman RB Jacobi Green gained 29 yards on nine carries and Edwards added a 20-yard rush.
Redshirt sophomore DL Evan Kelly finished the night with a career-high eight tackles and his first-ever fumble recovery, while classmate DB Aaron Roane had seven stops in the win. Redshirt junior Kerry Wynn forced fumbles in both the third and fourth quarters to give him three total in his career. Holmes and redshirt sophomore LB Eric Wright each tallied six tackles on Saturday, including one tackle-for-loss by Holmes.
Redshirt freshman RB/WR Dominique Miller was dominant in the kick-return game, rushing for 69 yards on three returns with a long of 36 yards.
Hinshaw finished with a career single-game high two field goals, including a personal-long of 37 yards, while redshirt senior Nick Hicks turned in another solid outing with four punts that included a long of 41 yards and three placed inside the 20-yard line.
Richmond returns to the road next week when it visits Lexington, Va., for a 1:30 p.m. matchup with VMI at the Keydets' Foster Stadium.