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Wednesday, May 25, 2022


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Spiders top Blue Devils 23-21 in Wayne Lineburg's debut

DURHAM, N.C. — They came to Durham, N.C., Saturday night with a new head coach, several new faces on defense and a plethora of doubters. They left with a 23-21 victory.

The Richmond Spiders football team upset Duke University on the road to start the 2011 season on a good note.

Just 11 days after the resignation of former head coach Latrell Scott, interim head coach Wayne Lineberg led the Spiders to their first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent since 2009, which was also against the Blue Devils. Lineberg deferred all credit to the players.

"I just think it's all about these kids and how tough they are and how long they've been together," Lineberg said. "It's just a tremendous victory for our kids; they've grown together over some adversity the last few weeks."

Many players did deserve their new coach's praise, with several key plays defining the night.

One of those plays that didn't seem all that important as it happened came from Richmond's sophomore defensive tackle Evan Kelly when he sacked Duke quarterback for a 5-yard loss on third and goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game and the Spiders leading by two. Duke's kicker missed the ensuing field goal wide right, possibly influenced by the extra distance away.

After that miss, Richmond was able to run the clock out enough that the Blue Devils were left attempting a 60-yard field goal as time expired. The kick fell well short.

The game started out as a defensive struggle, with neither team scoring the entire first quarter, but the final three quarters turned into an offensive shootout with each team taking turns driving down the field and putting points on the board.

"I think both teams just kind of got a little rhythm going on offense," Lineburg said. "On our side, [senior wideout] Tre [Gray] really got going."

Saying that Gray got going may be an understatement. Making big play after big play, playing for his fourth new coach in his five-year Spider career, finished with eight catches for 129 yards, both career highs. Running around the Blue Devil defenders all game wore him out.

"I told my coach I'm gonna need to condition more if they gonna have me running around like this," Gray said.

Key among those eight catches may have been his 48-yard reception early during the third quarter. Duke looked like it had gained momentum to start the second half, forcing a three and out on Richmond's opening drive and then taking a 14-10 lead on a lengthy touchdown drive when they got the ball.

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Duke looked like it may have a chance to get the ball back again as their defense forced a third and 10 deep in Richmond's own side of the field. Then senior quarterback Aaron Corp was able to find Gray open about 15 yards downfield, and Gray did the rest, weaving in and out of would-be tacklers for a huge momentum stopper. Junior fullback Kendall Gaskins finished that drive with an eight-yard touchdown run a few plays later.

"These games are always about who has the momentum and when they made big plays, I think our team did a good job today at answering back with some big plays of our own," Gray said.

Richmond's final touchdown came on aone1-yard burst from senior running back Garrett Turner on gourth and goal, but kicker Remington Hinshaw missed the extra point to make the final score.

Richmond's defense was able to force three turnovers, two off fumble recoveries that resulted in Spider points. The first fumble was forced by junior safety Cooper Taylor, who transferred from Georgia Institute of Technology last offseason. He finished with 14 total tackles, one for loss.

"Coop is good player and a great guy," junior linebacker Darius McMillan said. "It was kind of interesting to see him play against another team other than our offense, and he played great."

The win, though impressive, isn't getting to the team's head, Lineburg said.

"We got a long way to go," Lineberg said. "This is just one game. We obviously got some great kids in this program and I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out, but we'll just take it one practice at a time and not get ahead of ourselves."

McMillan was asked to compare this team to the 2008 National Championship team he also played for.

"In 2008, we definitely had a really family-based team," McMillan said. "This year, we're definitely close-knit; we may be even more close-knit than we were in 2008."

Next Saturday, the Spiders (1-0) will play their first home game of the season against Wagner.

Game Notes: Redshirt freshman Stephen Barnette's touchdown catch to begin the second quarter was his first career catch and touchdown... Gray moved into 7th on Richmond's all-time receptions list, as well as notching his 150th career catch and surpassing 2,000 yards receiving for his career... The win makes it three straight for Richmond over Duke

contact staff writer David Weissman at

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