UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Richmond Spiders football team staged a dramatic, late rally against No. 4-ranked Old Dominion on Saturday night before a sold-out crowd at Robins Stadium, out-scoring the Monarchs 20-0 in the fourth quarter. Despite the late heroics, the Monarchs (5-0, 2-0) were able to hold off the Spiders (3-2, 1-1), defeating Richmond, 45-37.
Senior QB John Laub had a career day for the Spiders, completing 27-of-44 passes for 339 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Colplay, Pa., native set career-marks in completions, attempts and yards while also rushing for 24 yards and a score. Senior Ben Edwards was also stellar, setting career-highs with 11 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Richmond was led by DB Cooper Taylor and DT Evan Kelly, who each had a game-high 12 tackles. DB Doug Howell had a great game for the Spiders, taking an interception back for a touchdown while also making career-high nine tackles.
"I am very disappointed in the fact that we did not get off to a better start," Richmond head coach Danny Rocco said after the game. "During the second half, I thought our guys made a legitimate run and I thought we put ourselves back in the game. The short of it is that we got a conference loss to a very, very good football team and we have to come together and move forward."
On Old Dominion's first drive of the game, Monarch QB Taylor Heinicke rolled out and threw to intended target Nick Mayers, only to have it intercepted by Wayne Pettus. The pick was Pettus' first-career interception.
Later in the first quarter, Richmond got on the board after Laub lasered a 39-yard pass to Edwards, who sprinted into the end zone to knot the score at 7-7 with 9:14 left in the first stanza. The catch-and-run was Edwards' second touchdown of the season.
With Old Dominion leading 24-7, Richmond scored again with just under 10 minutes in the half when Laub tossed a 1-yard pass to TE Kevin Finney. The score was Finney's second of the season.
At the half, ODU led the Spiders 38-14. In the first half, Laub was 13-for-19 for 148 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Edwards led the receiving corps with four catches for 57 yards with one touchdown. Defensively, Richmond was led by LB Eric Wright who had eight tackles, while Taylor had seven in the opening 30 minutes.
The second-half scoring began when Richmond senior kicker Remington Hinshaw booted a 38-yard field goal at the 9-minute mark in the third quarter to slash the Monarch deficit to 38-17. The 38-yard make was a career-long for Hinshaw.
With the Monarchs leading the Spiders, 45-17, Richmond needed a spark to get back in the game. The spark came when Howell intercepted a Heinicke pass and ran back the pick for touchdown, getting the Spiders to within 45-24 at the 14:21 mark in the fourth quarter. The interception was Howell's third in two games and the first career touchdown for the Reston, Va. native.
The Richmond defense rose to the challenge following the pick-six, forcing ODU to punt. On the next Spider drive, Jovan Smith had a 7-yard touchdown run that cut ODU's lead to 45-30 after a missed extra point by Hinshaw.
After the Richmond defense forced another ODU punt, Laub continued the dramatics with a 1-yard touchdown run to get Richmond to within 45-37 with 6:40 remaining.
That's where the Spider rally would end, however, as Old Dominion was able to run out the clock on its next drive, securing the 45-37 victory.
Next up for the Richmond Spider football team will be a road trip north to face the Villanova Wildcats in a CAA contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday.