The Collegian
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Mistakes finally prove costly in Richmond's 45-43 loss

There was no apologizing after Duke just like there wasn't any after defeating Wagner. Nor was there any apologies given after Richmond hung on during the fourth quarter to defeat Virginia Military Institute.

But Saturday's 45-43 loss against the University of New Hampshire, Richmond's season-long issues finally proved to be too much.

The problems that hurt Richmond throughout the year -- interceptions, fumbles and a depleted defense -- all presented themselves. And in a two-point game, that proved to be the difference in the game.

"We just made too many mistakes, things we can't do against a good team like New Hampshire," Richmond interim coach Wayne Lineburg said. "It caught up to us. We made a great effort to come back and win but we had done too much to put ourselves in a hole."

Things started going against Richmond during the second quarter. With a 10-7 lead, Richmond put itself in a bit of a hole with a third and 15 on the UNH 30 when quarterback Aaron Corp's pass was tipped by the receiver and was grabbed by defensive end Randi Vines and returned 60 yards for a touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Richmond returner Tremayne Graham was upended and fumbled the ball. UNH cornerback Chris Houston was in perfect position to recover the ball and three playes and 31 yards later, the Wildcats had a 21-10 lead.

The second quarter continued to be a forgettable one when UNH linebacker Matt Evans returned an interception for a 31-yard touchdown.

In a game that turned out to be a shoot-out with 88 total points scored, that little bit of defensive play loomed large late in the game.

"I think, what [the interceptions] did for us is give us some confidence defensively that we could stick in the game a little bit," UNH coach Sean McDonnell said.

Give a team like New Hampshire -- which entered the game ranked No. 11 -- three touchdowns off of turnovers and you're putting yourself in a bad position.

But give Richmond credit, it could have been easy for it allow things to get out of control during the second half. Even when the Spiders continued to hurt themselves later in the half with penalties, they found a way to get out of it.

At one point during the third quarter, Richmond faced a second and 29 after a sack on first down and back-to-back penalties backed it up another 10 yards. Like what has happened many times this year, Richmond found a way to quickly get past those negative plays and was able to get a first down on that set of downs as Corp found Tre Gray for an 11-yard gain on a fourth and nine.

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Four plays after that conversion, kicker Wil Kamin hit a 37-yard field goal to make the score 35-23.

But Richmond made just too many mistakes to win the game. One of the biggest mistakes came during the fourth quarter when Kamin missed an extra point that kept the score at 38-29, a two-possession game.

When Richmond scored another touchdown about four minutes later, instead of going for the two-point conversion and a possible tie, Lineburg again sent out Kamin to cut the Wildcats' lead to 38-36.

After the game, Lineburg refused to blame Kamin for changing the tone of the game.

"You can't point the finger at any one play, [at] any one player when things don't go right," he said. "We have to look at ourselves to look better. We stick together."

Things continued to go against Richmond all the way until the end of the game. The Spiders once again cut the lead down to two with 28 seconds left and were forced to attempt an onside kick.

The kick was executed perfectly, as the bouncing ball hit off of a Wildcat and landed right to Gray. Gray appeared to have the ball before a pile-up happened and when the players were taken off of each other, the referees ruled that it was New Hampshire ball as Gray limped off the field.

"He had the on-side kick, you know, right in front of me," McDonnell said. "I guess he cramped up and our guy got it from under him."

In that sense, it was a fitting end to an otherwise inglorious game for the Spiders.

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