NEWARK, Del., — Playing a team whose helmets mimic those of football powerhouse University of Michigan, Richmond made its opponent, University of Delaware, look like the Wolverines.
The Blue Hens did most of their damage in the first half on the ground with sophomore running back Pierce against an injury-depleted Spiders' defense. Pierce ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 21 first-half carries. He finished with 221 yards rushing, his career high.
"He's a good back," Richmond interim coach Wayne Lineburg said. "If you don't wrap him up, he's gonna make you pay for it, and they have a very good offensive line."
The loss, 24-10, is Richmond's seventh straight, all to Colonial Athletic Association teams, after winning its first three games to begin the year.
The Spiders' defense began the game missing four usual starters--lineman Corey Jackson and backs Cooper Taylor, Tremayne Graham and Daryl Hamilton--and lost starting linebacker Aaron Roane to an injury early in the second quarter. He was replaced by redshirt freshman DeShawn Holmes who made a career-best nine tackles.
"[Pierce] just kept his feet moving," Holmes said. "But we supposed to make tackles on defense."
On the offensive end, turnovers were the problem for Richmond, as they have been all season. Quarterback Aaron Corp threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. The fumble came late in the fourth quarter with the Spiders attempting to make a late comeback.
"It's been an Achilles heel all year," Lineburg said. "Can't turn the ball over in this league."
With its playoff hopes dead, Richmond looked to its bag of tricks on three separate occasions, only seeing success once.
On the Spiders' first offensive play of the game, Corp handed the ball off to fullback Kendall Gaskins who pitched the ball back to Corp for a flea flicker. Corp then threw deep for receiver Ben Edwards, but the ball was intercepted on a great catch with one hand by Delaware cornerback Travis Hawkins.
Later in the first quarter, Richmond executed a fake punt on 4th and 4 with an end-around pass by Edwards, finding safety Colin Pehanick for a 24-yard gain. The offense would go on to kick a 22-yard field goal for its only points of the half.
After the field goal, Richmond kicker Wil Kamin tried to catch the Blue Hens off-guard by kicking it high and short for his team to recover, but he mishit the ball and it went straight out of bounds.
"We were trying anything we can do to try to get a spark," Lineburg said.
Kamin's 28-yard field goal attempt later in the half later in the half was blocked. When the offense scored its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter, freshman Remington Hinshaw was brought on to kick the extra point. Kamin has missed four extra points this season.
The touchdown came on 38-yard pass from Corp to senior Tre Gray, who has been hobbled by an ankle injury the last few games. Gray finished with 126 yards on nine receptions.
"It's the last two games," Gray said. "Can't sit out."
The Spiders (3-7, 0-7) will finish their season at home next Saturday against The College of William & Mary. Kickoff is set for noon.
Game Notes: Gray's 11-yard reception in the first quarter put him over 1,000 yards for the season, only the third Spider to ever accomplish the mark... Redshirt freshman safety Reggie Barnette led Richmond in tackles with 14, his career high... Edwards's nine receptions is a career high.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org