Bizarre. 

Richmond coach Danny Rocco used that word multiple times while describing Saturday's game between Richmond and Hampton, and he was right. The weather was bizarre. The officiating was bizarre. The outcome of the game was almost bizarre, but the Spiders scored late to win 31-28 and avoid a major upset. 

The Spiders didn't walk away unscathed, though. Starting cornerback Tafon Mainsah and defensive lineman Brandon Waller both suffered apparent knee injuries, and both are expected to miss at least a few weeks. Rocco did say after the game that he was unsure and optimistic about when the players will return, though. 

Mainsah's injury was part of the first bizarre sequence in the game. After a play by Hampton's offense, Mainsah and a Hampton player got physical and Mainsah was thrown to the ground and suffered the knee injury. 

"There was a whistle blown," Rocco said. "I thought it was so flagrant what the (Hampton) kid did. So then they didn't throw a flag. So I'm saying to myself, 'He stopped the game, but he didn't throw a flag. That's bizarre.'

"I'm wrong in my judgment there but in real time I'm like, 'How is that possible?'"

Rocco was angry after the play, demonstrating for the referees what he saw happen to Mainsah. The entire Richmond team was about 10 yards onto the field, and it appeared that a fight may break out. 

"It definitely fired us up," Richmond running back Seth Fisher said. 

The first quarter ended shortly after, and then came the second bizarre sequence of the game. It took about twenty minutes to start the second quarter. The chain gang and referees appeared to have misplaced the spot of the football, Rocco said, which prompted a long and heated discussion. 

None of these events seemed to favor the Spiders, as they went into halftime trailing by 11 points. A weather delay due to lightning prolonged the break to about 30 minutes, and with the second half came rain, wind and an improved Richmond offense. 

The third quarter was back and forth, with each team scoring one touchdown. Mainsah's absence seemed to cost the Spiders, as Hampton continually found success in the passing game. Hampton quarterback David Watford finished with 239 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. 

The fourth quarter came, though, and Richmond's struggles went. The Spiders outscored Hampton 15-0 in the final quarter, thanks in large part to 45 rushing yards and a touchdown from Fisher. His success helped the Spiders control the tempo and momentum of the game late, and that momentum carried over to the defense, who allowed just 60 yards to Hampton in the fourth. 

Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta seemed to become more comfortable as the game progressed, probably because his running game began to establish a rhythm. A change in strategy was a major reason for the Spiders' second half success, he said. 

"We went 'Nascar,' which is up-tempo," Lauletta said. "Our 'Nascar' is basically just no-huddle, so we can run our entire playbook with signals. It really puts the defense in their base D, so we knew what defense they were running."

The Spiders will carry a 1-1 record into next Saturday's home opener against VMI. 

Contact Sports Editor Charlie Broaddus at charlie.broaddus@richmond.edu