The Collegian
Friday, February 23, 2024

Aaron Corp injures leg early in 17-0 loss at New Hampshire

DURHAM, N.H. — The University of Richmond football team has thrived during the past three seasons by forcing its opponents into turnovers. But this afternoon against the University of New Hampshire, the turnover bug bit back.

Richmond turned the ball over seven times during a 17-0 loss in front of more than 12,000 fans at Cowell Stadium in Durham, N.H. After quarterback Aaron Corp was injured while throwing an interception during the first drive of the game, third-string quarterback Nick Hicks, who is also the punter, proceeded to throw five more interceptions.

Corp's third pass of the game was intercepted by UNH defensive back John Greer and returned for a touchdown. Corp was hit hard on the play, injured his lower leg and spent the rest of the game on crutches.

"It was a tough day for all of us," head coach Latrell Scott said. "[Corp's injury] limited our game plan a little bit. ... We tried to do simple things that [Hicks] was capable of doing and tried to get him throws he was comfortable with."

The Richmond defense held UNH to only 64 yards of total offense during the first half, but struggled to keep up its strong play -- largely because of turnovers -- during the second half. The Wildcats outgained the Spiders 232 yards to 220 yards during the game.

On Richmond's only trip to the red zone late during the third quarter, Scott elected to go for a 4th and 10 conversion rather than attempting a 29-yard field goal into the wind. Hicks' pass was intended for wide receiver Kevin Grayson, but landed harmlessly in the end zone.

"The thought process was that we were kicking into the wind and we just didn't feel comfortable kicking it," Scott said.

Scott said he thought the Spiders needed three scores to win anyway, and with the defense playing well, he wasn't worried about giving UNH the ball back with 90 yards to go for a touchdown.

Senior running back Tyler Kirchoff ran for 99 yards during the first half for Richmond, but no offensive players had as much success during the second half. Kirchoff finished the day with 108 yards on 17 carries. Hicks completed only 9 of 27 pass attempts for 64 yards.

UNH dominated the time of possession battle, especially in the fourth quarter, holding the ball for more than 19 minutes of the second half.

Injuries continue to plague the Spiders, as regular back-up quarterback John Laub remained in a cast because of an injured wrist and running back Jovan Smith missed his second straight game, after rushing for more than 100 yards against the University of Delaware two weeks ago.

Scott said he expected Hicks to be the starter again next week with the injuries to Corp and Laub.

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Richmond is now 2-3 on the season and 0-2 during Colonial Athletic Association play. If the Spiders hope to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season, they can afford to lose only one of their final six games.

Senior linebacker Eric McBride said the team would continue to play hard and hope to turn things around next week.

"Just don't give up," McBride said he would tell his teammates. "We want to keep getting better and we've got to get a win next week. ... We had two conference losses the year we won the National Championship and I still have full faith we're going to get it next week."

Scott echoed McBride's sentiments.

"We're gonna play with who we've got and we've got full confidence in this team," Scott said. "Anybody who thinks Richmond is going to lie down for them, they've got another thing coming."

Richmond will travel north again next Saturday to face the University of Massachusetts 3:30 p.m. in Amherst, Mass.

Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at reilly.moore@richmond.edu

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