Richmond football defeated Hampton 42-17 Saturday night in Robins Stadium.
The Spiders used a resurgent running game and a ruthless pass rush to pull away from the Pirates in the third quarter. Jacobi Green found his stride on the ground, rushing for 133 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Williamson and Aaron Roane each had a sack.
Both Green and Danny Rocco, the Spiders’ head coach, were relieved that the rushing attack finally found success. Green said he didn’t do much differently this week, but the holes were there and he “just ran.”
Rocco acknowledged the importance of the running game as the team heads into conference play. “We’ve got some backs that can run the ball, and we do have some physicality in the offensive line,” Rocco said.
He said conference opponents would have to respect the Spiders’ running game, which should provide better balance offensively and create opportunities for Michael Strauss to throw.
The Spiders were able to create pressure on Hampton’s quarterbacks better than they have so far this season. Williamson and fellow lineman Terrence Fullum led a pass rush that was wreaking havoc in Hampton’s backfield all night.
The quarterback pressure created some opportunities for interceptions for Justin Grant, but he couldn’t capitalize on them. However, the defense did recover one Hampton fumble.
Roane said the defensive game plan was actually not to rush Hampton quarterback Jaylian Williamson, but to contain him in the pocket. “He’s a short guy and he couldn’t really see over the lineman,” Roane said. He said the pressure had come mostly in the second half after the defense noticed opportunities to collapse the pocket.
Perhaps the most controversial moment of the game was when safety Reggie Barnette was ejected following a targeting penalty. The call came after a bang-bang play, and it did not seem that Barnette intended to target the receiver.
Rocco said the team would watch the film and use the ejection as a learning experience. The coach said Barnette would face no discipline from the team, especially because the play did not seem to warrant a targeting penalty.
The Spiders hope to win back-to-back games for the first time this season as they take on New Hampshire on family weekend. The game will begin 4 p.m. Saturday in Robins Stadium.
Contact reporter Charlie Broaddus at firstname.lastname@example.org