Setting career highs for attempts, yards and touchdowns typically means a great four quarters of football.
While senior tailback Tyler Kirchoff certainly played a great four quarters of football today, he only needed two to set those marks. With 14 carries for 80 yards and three touchdowns, Kirchoff helped Richmond burst out to a 27-13 lead over visiting Coastal Carolina University at halftime. Kirchoff would finish the game with 24 carries for 129 yards and four touchdowns, the last of which helped seal the game with the visitors mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter. The game ended with Richmond winning, 41-19.
"It's a great feeling when at the beginning of the week, the coaches come up to you and tell you that we're [going to] be running the ball all game," Kirchoff said. "We're a little thin at wideout [and] we needed to [step up] at running back as a group and it was just an awesome feeling to be able to have the O-line push people around and have holes open up."
With usual starting receivers Donte Boston and Tre Gray out with injuries, the Spider offense turned to the running game to pick up the slack.
"We made a huge investment in our offensive line and running backs to lead us and they came out and made a lot of plays early," said Richmond head coach Latrell Scott.
The Chanticleers were able to come back early in the fourth quarter, shortening the Richmond lead to 27-19 with 13:52 remaining following a 12-yard halfback pass from Jeremy Height to wide receiver Brandon Whitley. The throw was set up by a Kirchoff fumble deep in Spider territory.
"Hats off to coach [David] Bennett and the [rest] of Coastal Carolina," Scott said. "We told our guys all week that they'd take our best shot and continue to fight as long as they could."
With 7:42 left and Coastal Carolina driving for a score that, with a successful two-point conversion, would've tied the game at 29, senior linebacker Patrick Weldon intercepted Coastal quarterback Zach MacDowall in the end zone on third and goal from the 2-yard line.
Coastal Carolina would get one more opportunity after Richmond failed to gain a first down off the turnover, but with 4:59 left, cornerback Justin Rogers picked off a deep pass at the Richmond 30-yard line, which led to Kirchoff's final touchdown and put the game out of reach. Rogers added to the lead himself on the next drive, intercepting another pass and returning it 34 yards for the game's final touchdown.
"I knew they were going to try to throw outs to try to get out of bounds and it was a pretty far throw and I just stepped in front it," Rogers said.
With the win, the Spiders improved their record to 2-2, while the loss dropped Coastal Carolina to 1-4. Next week, Richmond will head back into Colonial Athletic Association conference play, traveling to the University of New Hampshire to take on the 2-2 Wildcats.
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• Kirchoff's TD runs were, in order, 14, 4, 12 and 27 yards. He now has 6 touchdowns on the season.
• Richmond true freshman wide receiver Ben Edwards caught his first-career touchdown with 1:34 left in the second quarter on a 47-yard pass from QB Aaron Corp.
• Senior LB Eric McBride tied a career-high in this game with 18 tackles.
Contact reporter David Weissman at email@example.com
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