The Collegian
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Live Blog: No. 14 Spiders take on no. 3 Villanova

Follow for live updates throughout the game between Richmond and Villanova.

<p>Linebacker Aaron Roane tackles Villanova running back Kevin Monangai for a loss. </p>

Linebacker Aaron Roane tackles Villanova running back Kevin Monangai for a loss. 

The game is over, and the final score is 10-9. Richmond hands Villanova its first conference loss of the season and makes a serious case for a playoff spot. The Spiders have put themselves in position for a possible conference championship, as long as they can continue to win. 

Q4, 1:30 -- Fisher delivers. He carries up the middle and picks up the first down. The Spiders just have to kneel on it a few times, and they will have defeated the third-ranked Wildcats. 

Q4, 2:30 -- Fisher bursts up the middle on second down and dives for a 9-yard gain. The Spiders face a third-and-1, and if they convert this the game is all but over. 

Q4, 2:35 -- Villanova is forced to attempt to convert on fourth down, as the score is 10-9 and the clock is ticking. Richmond's defense continues to carry the team, stopping Nova and forcing a turnover on downs. Richmond's offense will take over with 2:35 left, and Nova has only one timeout. 

Q4, 3:23 -- Robertson has an ability to keep plays alive. He scrambles and throws downfield, but Ogunniyi makes yet another great pass breakup. 

Q4, 4:21 -- Robertson drops back, can't find any open receivers and decides to run up the middle for 10 yards and a first down. The next play, though, Justin Grant fills the lane from his safety position and stops the running back for a 2-yard loss. 

Q4, 5:06 -- That drive was doomed from the start. Three ineffective plays result in a punt from Richmond. Time is ticking for Nova to score.

Q4, 5:11 -- Rocco rolls out right and throws an ill-advised pass into double coverage.

Q4, 6:30 -- Robertson fumbles the snap, but it is recovered by one of his lineman. Regardless, the stadium atmosphere has become electric, the Spiders are full of energy and the Wildcats are about to punt. 

Q4, 6:58 -- Robertson comes out firing, but to no avail. The Spiders' secondary continues to break on passes and hurry him in the pocket. 

Q4, 7:12 -- The Spiders took a delay of game penalty to give the punter room to work. He punts to the 17-yard line. 

Q4, 8:20 -- Two short plays leave the Spiders with a third-and-4 at the Nova 44. A direct snap to Rocco is unsuccessful, and the Spiders face a fourth down and three that they look like they will attempt to convert. 

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Q4, 9:50 -- Fisher carries up the middle, hurdles a defender and trips forward for a 9-yard gain. The Spiders are consistently making plays that excite the crowd. 

Q4, 10:39 -- Robertson sits in the pocket on third down for what seems like an hour, and despite a lack of pressure he overthrows a wide open receiver. The Wildcats punt it away, and a bad punt gives Richmond the ball at its own 36. 

Q4, 12:00 -- Nova begins the drive with three short plays and one hard-earned first down. Richmond's defense looks to be in "bend but don't break" mode right now, as it's allowing short gains but nothing devastating. 

Q4, 13:15 -- Another Richmond drive falls short. Rocco gets hit and the balls flies into the air, allowing a defender to intercept it. Villanova steals possession at the 14-yard line. 

Q4, 13:45 -- A screen pass to Jacobi Green results in a 20-yard gain and a first-and-goal. Green dragged defenders on that play, and the crowd went wild for it. 

Q4, 14:20 -- Brown is determined right now. He catches a streak route downfield for a huge gain. On the next play, Ponder hauls in a one-handed catch, drawing "ooo"s from the crowd and gaining a first down to the Villanova 28. 

Q4, 14:50 -- Brown catches a pass on a slant route, and fights through a defender to earn enough yardage for another Richmond first down. 

At the end of the third quarter, Richmond leads 10-9 and the only difference in the game is a missed extra point by Villanova. Both teams have found periodic success offensively in the second half, but the game has still been a defensive affair. Richmond will start the quarter with the ball and a first down. 

Q3, :20 -- Ponder catches a short pass, but turns it into an 11-yard gain and a first down. Richmond is slowly creeping toward Villanova's side of the field. 

Q3, 1:03 -- Rocco carries up the middle on third-and-3, and he is absolutely dropped by a few defenders. He gained enough yardage for a first down, though. 

Q3, 2:20 -- Seth Fisher gets the carry on first down and gains 6 yards to give the Spiders some breathing room. They are now on their own 10-yard line. 

Q3, 2:46 -- On third-and-8, Robertson throws incomplete, and Omar Howard picks it up and runs it into the end zone because the Spiders thought it was a backward pass. The ball is ruled incomplete, and Nova punts to the Richmond 3-yard line. 

Q3, 3:20 -- The Wildcats' rushing attack looks as good as it has all day, as they are picking up chunks of 6-8 yards consistently on this drive. The ball is on Richmond's 43. 

Q3, 4:50 -- Nova picks up a first down on the ground with Kevin Monangai rushing for 2 yards. 

Q3, 6:13 -- Villanova begins its drive at the 29-yard line after a short kick from Yoder. It will be interesting to see if the defense can neutralize Robertson now that he's gotten into a groove. 

Q3, 6:18 -- Rocco takes matters into his own hands, scrambling past and through Villanova defenders and diving into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown run. Peter Yoder outshines Nova's kicker, making the extra point and giving the Spiders their first lead of the game, 10-9. 

Q3, 7:10 -- Rashad Ponder catches a pass up the middle and maneuvers around defenders for a 21-yard gain. On the next play, Rocco goes back to Ponder for 13 more yards and another first down. The Spiders are looking smooth offensively, and the receivers are playing well.

Q3, 7:45 -- After a short gain on the ground from Jacobi Green, Rocco finds Diggs again up the sideline for a 17-yard gain and a first down. 

Q3, 8:10 -- Villanova's kicker is struggling right now. He just missed the extra point, then immediately afterward kicked off out of bounds. Richmond will begin at its own 35. 

Q3, 8:10 -- Robertson proves his talent, as he scrambles around and delivers a touchdown pass to Lincoln Collins, making the score 9-3. The extra point attempt failed. The majority of the people at Robins Stadium felt that the pass was dropped and was not a touchdown, but the referees are not a part of that population. 

Q3, 10:00 -- Robertson connects with another receiver for a short gain on third down, but it is enough to move the chains. Villanova now has a first down at the Richmond 7-yard line. 

Q3, 11:04 -- Villanova has finally gotten what it wanted from Robertson. He connects with his receiver downfield for a 42-yard gain to the Richmond 16. 

Q3, 12:10 -- Robertson begins the drive with a 7-yard run, but more importantly loses his center Ross Hall to injury. 

Q3, 12:26 -- Rocco drops back to pass, disoriented, and spins into a Wildcat defender for a sack and a loss of 13 yards. Peter Yoder bails the offense out, as he nails a 37-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3. 

Q3, 13:30 -- Nova's defense is not budging. The Spiders have not gained a yard on two plays, and now face a third-and-goal from the 6. 

Q3, 14:00 -- Richmond starts the half with a defensive three-and-out. The punter drops the ball, tries to kick it off the ground and is penalized for an illegal kick. The Spiders will begin their drive at the Villanova 6-yard line. 

Q3, 15:00 -- Villanova has a solid return on the kickoff and will start the drive at the 28-yard line. 

Crazy stat of the first half: Richmond and Villanova combined for SIX turnovers in the first quarter, and combined for ZERO in the second quarter. 

At the end of the first half, Richmond and Villanova are locked in a tough defensive match. The score of 3-0 in Villanova's favor, but both teams have struggled to capitalize on opportunities. Richmond fumbled at the 1-yard line, and Nova threw an interception while inside the 10-yard line. Six turnovers were committed in the first quarter, but no points were scored as a result of any of them. The story of this game so far is that both defenses have been fairly dominant and both offenses have been lackluster and failed to take advantage of opportunities. 

Q2, :55 -- Rather than end the half, Nova decides to try to score again. Winston Craig doesn't like that though, as he bursts up the middle and sacks Robertson for a 7-yard loss. 

Q2, 1:07 -- Two plays for no gain put the Spiders in a tough third-and-10 situation. A short pass to Jarmal Bevels is dropped on third down, so Richmond is forced to punt and surrender possession.

Q2, 2:20 -- Hamlin catches a short kickoff and explodes up the middle for a 26-yard return to the Richmond 35-yard line. 

Q2, 2:43 -- The Spiders are able to force a fourth down for Villanova, but Steve Weyler makes a 24-yard field goal for the first points of the game. Villanova now leads 3-0. 

Q2, 4:30 -- Robertson is beginning to find a groove and settle into this game. He hits his receiver on third-and-4 for 12 yards and a first down to Richmond's 13.

Q2, 6:00 -- Villanova is starting to put together what is probably its best drive today. The Wildcats are running and passing effectively right now and have made it to Richmond's 27-yard line. 

Q2, 8:30 -- Just when it looked like the offense was going to produce points, the drive stalls again and a 46-yard field goal attempt from Yoder is not successful. Villanova regains possession at its own 29-yard line. 

Q2, 9:50 -- The offense is starting to find some rhythm, as Rocco finds Hunter Westfall across the middle for 16 yards and another first down. He then goes deep across the middle for Brown, but the pass is low and he is unable to hold onto the ball. It would've been a touchdown catch. 

Q2, 10:47 -- Rocco has not lost any confidence in Diggs despite a few failed plays earlier. He finds Diggs on the sideline for 17 yards and a first down. 

Q2, 11:20 -- On third-and-14, the Spiders stop Robertson for a short gain on the ground to force another fourth down. Who would have thought that the Spiders would be able to hold Robertson's offense to zero points and 66 yards of offense through a quarter and a half?

Q2, 12:35 -- The secondary seems to be in Robertson's head today. Ogunniyi undercuts a pass toward the sideline, but falls out of bounds and is unable to complete the interception. On the following play, Aaron Roane nails a Villanova running back for a 4-yard loss.

Q2, 12:49 -- Rocco continues to try to force the ball to Diggs when he is not open. He throws an errant pass that sails out of bounds on third-and-10, then pooch punts it into the end zone on fourth down. Villanova will start its drive at the 25. 

Q2, 13:35 -- Rocco hits Brown on an out route on the first play of the drive for about 10 yards and a first down. 

Q2, 14:34 -- Richmond's defense continues to play effectively and neutralize Robertson's offense. The Spiders force another fourth-down punt, which is nearly blocked, drawing a big "oooo" from the crowd. Richmond will take over at the 50. 

At the end of the first quarter, the score is 0-0 and the teams are locked in a defensive battle. I expected turnovers to be a big part of this game, and there have already been six of them through just one quarter. I did not expect a scoreless game after a quarter, and it will be interesting to see if either offense can put string together enough positive plays to score some points. 

Q1, :21 -- Despite a promising drive, Richmond fails to score as they fumble the ball at the 1-yard line. Villanova recovers, marking the sixth turnover of the first quarter. The game remains scoreless. 

Q1, 2:00 -- Rocco continues to deliver good passes, and Brown continues to make plays. He catches a short pass on third-and-medium and scrambles for a first down and about 15 yards. 

Q1, 3:19 -- Rocco comes out firing. He hits Brian Brown on an amazing vertical route down the middle of the field. The play results in a 42-yard gain -- Rocco could not have delivered a more beautiful throw. 

Q1, 4:14 -- Richmond's defense once again saves the day. Eric Wright intercepts Robertson in the end zone for a touchback. The fact that the game is still scoreless despite Villanova's first down on the 9-yard line is fascinating. 

Q1, 5:03 -- Dominique Miller muffs the punt for the Spiders, returning the favor to the Wildcats. Villanova recovers the ball at the Richmond 9-yard line. As I said earlier, turnovers will be crucial today, and so far there have already been two interceptions and two muffed punts.

Q1, 5:17 -- Richmond's defense decides to stiffen up and hold the Wildcats to a fourth down. Pressure on Robertson was the key to ending that drive defensively for Richmond.

Q1, 5:50 -- Villanova is putting together a drive. The offense has made it to the 32-yard line and is running the ball effectively. 

Q1, 6:47 -- Rocco forces a pass deep to Diggs in tight coverage, and it is intercepted by the Villanova cornerback at the 6-yard line. 

Q1, 8:14 -- Rocco finds Diggs on a slant route on second down for about 12 yards and a first down. Through the last three games it has become evident that Diggs is Rocco's go-to receiver. 

Q1, 8:30 -- The Spiders are unable to get out of the shadow of their own end zone, and DJ Helkowski is forced to punt out of his own end zone. However, the returner runs into his teammate and muffs the ball. Richmond gets its second turnover in about five minutes of real time as Omar Howard recovers the ball at the Villanova 44.

Q1, 9:13 -- The Wildcats dig into their bag of tricks early, as they attempt a double reverse pass. Ayo Ogunniyi was ready for the play though, as he intercepts the pass downfield. Turnovers are what the Spiders need if they are going to win today.

Q1, 10:30 -- Richmond's defense came to play today. They stop Robertson as he tries to run up the middle on third-and-2. The next play is a sweep for a first down, though.

Q1, 11:50 -- John Robertson comes out firing for Villanova. His first pass goes toward the sideline for about 12 yards and a first down. 

Q1, 12:00 -- Three unsuccessful plays stall the Spiders' drive at the 30-yard line, where Peter Yoder barely misses a 47-yard field goal attempt. Villanova will take over at the 30.

Q1, 13:00 -- Rocco hits Reggie Diggs in stride up the sideline for a huge 34-yard gain. 

Q1, 14:02 -- On second down, Rocco runs up the middle on a quarterback draw for about nine yards. He earns the remaining yard on another run on third down, giving the Spiders a first down.

Q1, 14:56 -- Jeremiah Hamlin takes the kickoff back to the 23-yard line, where he takes a hard hit. 

Q1, 15:00 -- Richmond won the toss and is electing to receive. We'll get an early look at Michael Rocco and the Spiders' offense.

Hey everyone, I'm Charlie and I'll be providing you all constant updates and analysis during today's game. The Spiders are facing their most important game so far this year, as they look to move up in the conference standings by defeating the Wildcats, who currently hold the top spot in the conference. This game has huge implications for the conference championship and playoff contention for both teams -- but the Spiders have more to lose the the Wildcats. We are about 15 minutes away from kickoff, so stay tuned for updates!

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