The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Game Preview: Richmond vs. William & Mary

With the way the defense has played so far this season, it should come as no surprise that linebacker Eric McBride and defensive tackle Martin Parker helped set up a Richmond touchdown. But what was surprising was the manner in which they did that.

On the touchdown, Parker lined up in the backfield as a fullback and McBride was in as a halfback to the right of Parker. Gaskins ran in between the two and got the two yards needed for the touchdown which put Richmond up 15-6 and sealed a sloppy game for Richmond.

"We had a package like that last year and I missed it," McBride said. "I was always on the coaches, like, 'Let me play some wing again.' And the coaches did it. So just running out there on the field, it was a good feeling, just to go out there with the offense and get a touchdown with Kendall Gaskins."

It was not the first time a defensive player has contributed on offense for Richmond this season. Senior cornerback Justin Rogers has rushed the ball five times for 16 yards, two catches for 12 yards and one pass for 11 yards. The pass would have gone for a touchdown against James Madison University but tight end Kevin Finney stepped out-of-bounds at the 1-yard line.

Rogers, who was a quarterback in high school, also contributes to special teams. During the game against JMU, he became the Colonial Athletic Association leader in career kickoff return yards.

"It shows that those guys are really good football players and that they're willing to do anything to win," Richmond coach Latrell Scott said. "We've used Justin on offense all season long and he's been able to handle all that stuff. Just to have the ability to have guys that are talented enough to be able to play on both sides of the ball says a lot about the talent those guys have."

And if the Richmond finds itself in a goal-line situation on offense, Scott may turn back to the jumbo package.

"Maybe, maybe not," said Scott when asked if he would use it again. "It's something that's definitely good for us."

Game notes:

• Similar to the previous two weeks, this is a virtual playoff game for Richmond (6-4, 4-3). If Richmond is able to win this game, it will probably receive an at-large berth to the 20-team FCS playoff.

• Richmond has won the last five meetings between these two schools, with the last two times coming thanks to a field goal by Andrew Howard. Historically, the Tribe leads the series 59-55-5 in the "South's Oldest Rivalry."

• The Spider defense forced a season-high seven turnovers last week against URI. It will face a much tougher challenge Saturday as W&M has turned the ball over just 10 times this season.

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• James Madison was able to beat W&M last week despite not completing a pass and only attempting one. The Dukes rushed 48 times for 266 yards while using wide receiver Dae'Quan Scott as a wildcat quarterback for most of the game.

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