Sure, our red zone offense came up short. OK, the fourth quarter was ugly. But I don't think I'm the only one who was proud of the Spiders Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.

The Spiders played a Cavaliers team that was expected to walk all over them. The Cavaliers will probably send a good portion of their team to the NFL draft.

The Spiders will not.

The Cavaliers play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which includes powerhouse programs such as Florida State University, Clemson University, University of Miami and Virginia Tech.

The Spiders do not.

Instead of a cakewalk, the Cavaliers met a tenacious and gritty Spiders team that refused to let the game get away from them. The Cavaliers played a tough defensive game, but I was more impressed with our I-AA defense that gave up three points through three quarters and only 10 points all game against the Cavaliers' mighty offense.

Our guys never gave up. There was never a moment when I thought they were slacking or were not playing as hard as they could have. They played with poise and self-control. Even when the officiating didn't go their way, they never lost their cool. There was no shoving or trash talking, just football.

We lost the game but I was glad I watched it. I think the national audience who watched the game on ESPNU will have a new respect for our team and its conference, and I do too.

Contact staff writer David Larter at david.larter@richmond.edu