This year has been a season of highs and lows for the University of Richmond football team. Everything from injuries to dramatic wins to the opening E. Claiborne Robins Stadium has caused Richmond fans to endure a roller-coaster season.
The Spiders will look to gain some consistency at 3:30 p.m. Saturday when they host Towson University.
It took a 15-yard touchdown pass from freshman Montel White - making his first career start - to wide receiver Tre Gray with nine seconds remaining in the game to give Richmond an 11-10 victory at the University of Massachusetts last week. The Spiders look to build off of a game-winning drive reminiscent of the drive against Northern Iowa University during the 2008 semifinal game.
"The thing we have to guard against now is just making sure with the success we had last week, we try to teach this team now to make sure we come back and are able to do the same thing in consecutive weeks," Spider coach Latrell Scott said. "With the way the season has gone, we've played well for one week and not played so well the following week. I think our biggest task this week is to make sure we put together another good game."
Based on records, Towson appears to be the right opponent for Richmond (3-3) to get that second-straight win. The Tigers are 1-5 this year and have been outscored 207-108 during those games. Their only win was a five-overtime 47-45 showdown against Coastal Carolina University, a team that Richmond defeated 41-19 on Oct. 2.
Despite Towson's struggles this year, senior linebacker Eric McBride said that a victory was not a given for Richmond.
"They have a lot of great athletes at wide receiver, running backs are great athletes," McBride said. "They have this new quarterback, Chris Hart, he's a real good ball player. ...They have the weapons and if they use them right, they can be a real good team."
Towson has been able to upset Richmond twice during the past five times the schools have met. One of those games was in 2007 when No. 14 Richmond lost at Towson, 23-21, as Towson scored a touchdown as time expired in the game.
"I never forget that drive," said McBride, who was a freshman that year.
On the offensive side of the ball, White will start again for the Spiders. Making his debut last week, White threw the ball six times, five of which came on the game-winning drive. Despite White's heroics, Scott said he would keep a similar gameplan to last week's in which there were 44 rushing attempts compared to six passes.
"We're still a work-in-progress," Scott said. "We're going to do a lot of the things we did last week with a few more wrinkles offensively. By no means are we going to come out and throw the ball 75 times."
That means the Wildcat formation that gave tailbacks Jovan Smith and Garrett Wilkins snaps at quarterback may be used by the Spiders. It was run last week at UMass but there were a few kinks that needed to be worked out. But another week of practice has helped the team to run it better.
"I feel like I'm more comfortable doing that," tailback Kendall Gaskins said. "Jovan Smith, we were doing mesh handoffs and we haven't really been doing that [before UMass]. With a week under our belt, it's like we've been doing it for a long time."
Saturday's game will also be Richmond's Homecoming and the Spiders are 40-33-6 all-time on Homecoming games. Last year's Homecoming game was memorable for the wrong reasons for Richmond, as kicker Andrew Howard missed a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left as it fell to Villanova University 21-20 to end a 17-game winning streak for Richmond.
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at email@example.com