UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – A great crowd on a beautiful Saturday got a look at just how bright the future is for the University of Richmond football team.
Redshirt freshman Joe Mancuso led a second half rally with three total touchdowns in the final 16 minutes of the game to lead his Blue squad to a comeback victory, 27-24, over the White squad in the annual Spiders Spring Game at Robins Stadium on Saturday.
Mancuso finished with over 100 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing), including the game winner with less than 30 seconds to play. Senior wideout Dashon Tibbs led the Blue team with 76 yards receiving, while the Blue team totaled 139 yards rushing on the day.
Defensively, the white team showed big play making ability with a long interception return from Gabe Thomas, a fumble recovery for a touchdown from Daniel Jones and 2.5 tackles for a loss from Chad Wiggins.
Andrew Clyde and Brandon Waller combined for five sacks on the day for the Blue team, who held the white without an offensive touchdown in the second half. Senior Tafon Mainsah had a key second-half interception as well for the Blue squad.
In all, the offenses of both teams combined for 145 yards rushing and 351 yards passing.
The big-play making ability of the new offense was shown from the first snap when Kevin Johnson found Dejon Brissett for a 53-yard connection down the sideline to set up the first TD of the game when Johnson ran it in from 12 yards out.
After both defenses delivered stops, Jake Clise ushered the Blue squad down the field and found the end zone with a nine-yard run of his own to tie the game at 7-7.
Thomas’ interception set up a 36-yard TD connection from Johnson to Jarmal Bevels to put the White squad up 14-7.
The White defense continued to make plays, holding the Blue squad without a score in the second quarter, giving Johnson time to usher the White offense down the field for a 40-yard field goal from Griffin Trau to take a 17-7 lead into halftime.
Both defenses shined early on in the second half before Mancuso jumpstarted the Blue offense for back-to-back TDs, grabbing a 20-17 lead with 9:45 to play.
It looked like the Blue offense would have the chance to run it out when Wiggins made what looked like to be the play of the game, forcing a fumble and Jones scooped it up and ran it home for the touchdown and 24-20 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Mancuso and the Blue offense went to work, finding the endzone with a fade route to Caleb Drake with 28 seconds remaining for the deciding score.