ATLANTA - In Richmond Football's first-ever trip to Atlanta, senior QB John Laub turned in a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Spiders to a 35-14 win over Georgia State in their conference-opener on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
The Spiders (3-1, 1-0 CAA) got their first score midway through the opening quarter when redshirt junior RB Jovan Smith trotted into the end zone on a short 1-yard carry to put Richmond up 7-0. Junior WR Ben Edwards was key on the drive, catching three balls for 26 yards in the series.
Smith would combine with Laub for strong ground play to put the Spiders at the GSU 12-yard line to open the second quarter. Senior FB Kendall Gaskins would follow suit with a pair of carries for 11 yards to set up Laub for the 1-yard score at the 13:35 mark.
Laub would take to the air from there, connecting with redshirt sophomore WR Stephen Barnette for a 49-yard touchdown play to give the Spiders a 21-0 advantage with 10:57 remaining in the half. The two-play scoring drive took just 15 seconds.
GSU (0-4, 0-1 CAA) finally found the end zone on its final drive of the half. After Donald Russell's 52-yard rush put the Panthers at the Richmond 28-yard line, Panther QB Ben McLane hit Albert Wilson for the 16-yard score to trim the Spider lead to 21-7.
Richmond quickly responded in the closing seconds of the half. Barnette would come down with another big 32-yard grab at the GSU 8-yard line, which Laub would follow up with a 7-yard rush before taking it in for his second rushing score of the day to send the Spiders into intermission with a 28-7 lead.
Laub continued his strong play in the opening minutes of the third quarter, connecting with Smith on a 26-yard pass to give the Spiders excellent position at the Panther 31-yard line. Laub would combine with Edwards for 34 yards on the ground before he hit Gaskins on an 18-yard toss to the GSU 6-yard line. It was all Laub from there, as the Spiders' starting QB took it in for the score and his career-high third rushing touchdown of the game.
Down 35-7 and with the game well out of hand, the Panthers would post another score down the stretch on a 2-yard run by Donald Russell in the final minute.
Laub finished the afternoon 12-of-25 for 223 yards in the air and one passing touchdown in addition to his career-high 73 rushing yards on 12 carries and three rushing touchdowns. Strauss went 5-for-7 for 31 yards after entering the second half.
McClane completed 16 of 26 passes for 140 yards to go with his touchdown and interception. Ronnie Bell finished 7-of-10 for 91 yards and to picks for the Panthers.
Stephen Barnette came up just two receiving yards shy of tying his career high in leading the Spiders with three catches for 87 yards and a score. Edwards had six catches for 50 yards, while Smith secured a career-high 47 receiving yards on three grabs. Gaskins also had three grabs for a career-high 42 yards.
Smith finished with 43 rushing yards on 12 carries, including his first-quarter score. Freshman RB Jacobi Green tallied 27 yards on six carries in Saturday's win.
Redshirt senior DB Doug Howell had a strong day defensively, recording his first two career interceptions for 15 return yards to go with a tackle-for-loss. In his Atlanta homecoming, redshirt senior DB Cooper Taylor finished with six tackles and came down with his third career interception after tallying two last week at VMI. Redshirt senior LB Darius McMillan paced the Spiders with 10 tackles, while sophomore DB Aaron Roane recorded six stops on the afternoon.
After setting a school record with four field goals last week at VMI, sophomore kicker Remington Hinshaw connected on all five of his PATs to establish a new career high.
Richmond returns home next weekend when the Spiders welcome Old Dominion to Robins Stadium for the annual Family Weekend game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.