Overcoming five first-half turnovers, the University of Richmond football team ran away with the game in the second half, defeating Wagner College, 21-6, in the inaugural night game at Robins Stadium Saturday.
Holding a slim 7-3 lead at the end of the first half because of the three lost fumbles and two interceptions, the Spiders outscored the Seahawks 14-3 during the final two quarters. No turnovers were committed in the second half.
"The game was really a tale of two halves," Richmond quarterback Aaron Corp said. "We're just lucky on offense that our defense stepped up and got as many stops as they did and didn't let Wagner get a lot of points."
Aside from his two interceptions and one fumble lost, Corp -- a transfer from the University of Southern California -- had arguably his best game in a Spider uniform, throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns, both career highs during his time at Richmond.
The first of Corp's touchdown throws came less than three minutes into the game on a 56-yard toss to sophomore wideout Ben Edwards. The play was Corp's career-long throw and Edwards's career-long catch.
"The touchdown early helped a lot because it got the crowd into it and it just showed we had the chance to get points early," Spider fullback Kendall Gaskins said. "It just helped our confidence."
However, the early confidence boost didn't jumpstart the offense the way the team hoped, as the barrage of turnovers ensued.
Corp was sacked on the offense's second possession and the hit jarred the ball loose from his grip. Wagner was able to come away with the fumble on the play.
Later in the first quarter, Richmond was threatening to score again on Wagner's 5-yard line, but Corp was intercepted in the endzone on a third and goal pass intended for tight end Kevin Finney.
Despite the offensive struggles to hold onto the football, Wagner was still held to three first-half points thanks to stellar defensive play.
Wagner did not earn a first down until 10:33 was left in the second quarter.
"We're all one team and if the offense, for any reason, has a struggle, we know we'll be that boost to get them started," Richmond linebacker Darius McMillan said. "Last week, they helped us a lot, so this week, we went out with the mentality to repay the favor."
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After Richmond's fourth turnover of the game, a lost fumble by tailback Garrett Turner, the Spider defense got the ball back immediately, with safety Colin Pehanick intercepting a Wagner pass on the very next play.
The team went into half time disappointed, but didn't receive a big pep talk from coach Wayne Lineburg.
"[Lineburg told us] to cut it out," Corp said. "There wasn't any big pep talk or anything. We knew we had to take care of the ball."
During the second half, the Spider offense scored on its first possession, moving the ball down the field slowly and finishing the drive off with a six-yard toss from Corp to Finney to make the score 14-3.
Richmond's final score came early during the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown rush by Gaskins, which made the score 21-6.
Richmond (2-0) will again be at home next week to face Virginia Military Institute. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the Spiders know they will have to play cleaner to stay unbeaten.
"I told the team after the game that we're never gonna apologize for getting a win," Lineberg said. "[But] we have to protect the football."
Game Notes: McMillan led the team in tackles with 10 on the game... Wagner kicker David Lopez's 45-yard FG in the third quarter tied a Robins Stadium long... Richmond sophomore Kerry Wynn totaled two sacks for 13 yards on the game.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com
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