BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - A last-minute field goal propelled the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs over the No. 11/15-ranked Richmond Spider football team, 12-10, Saturday night at Spangler Stadium.
The last-second loss was the second-straight for the Spiders, who dropped a two-point game at NC State last week. With the setback, Richmond’s record drops to 1-2 on the season, while the Runnin’ Bulldogs improve to 2-1.
Despite the loss, the Richmond defense was solid yet again limiting the Bulldogs to 297 total yards and four field goals. LB Eric Wright led Richmond with 11 tackles and 0.5 for a loss, while six other Spiders recorded five or more stops.
Redshirt junior Stephen Barnette led both teams with a career-high 182 receiving yards on 12 receptions, while QB Michael Strauss connected on 28-of-43 of his attempts for a career-high 305 yards and a touchdown.
The Spiders got on the board first six minutes in to the ball game after the Richmond defense forced Gardner-Webb to go three-and-out - its first of three for night. PK Brandon Jordi put three points on the board with a 40-yard field goal in a scoring drive of 11 plays for 49 yards, including two third-down conversions.
With just over four minutes left in the in the second quarter, DB David Jones stopped a Gardner-Webb 15-play, 79-yard drive from a potential touchdown with his first-career interception in the end zone. Despite the stop, the Bulldogs ended the half with a 37-yard field goal on their next possession to go into the break up 6-3.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Runnin’s Bulldogs increased their lead to 9-3 with just over 11 minutes left in the game on a 29-yard field goal.
On Richmond’s ensuing possession, a wildcat play featured WR Shane Savage in the backfield quarterback, connecting with Barnette on a 23-yard pass that set up a 1st-and-goal at the Gardner-Webb 3-yard line.
With two minutes to play, Strauss found TE Sam Roller in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown, tying the game at 9-9. Jordi’s PAT was good and the Spiders took their first lead of the game, 10-9, with just under two minutes left to play.
Gardner-Webb answered right back, however, with a game-winning drive, culminating in a 30-yard field goal with 25 seconds left to play.
Working with no timeouts, Strauss and Barnette connected on three-straight receptions for 50 yards, putting Richmond in field goal range. The last-second kick would sail wide as time expired, however, sealing the victory for Gardner-Webb.
Richmond will return home next Saturday, Sept. 21 to host the Liberty Flames at Robins Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.