The Spiders used a hardy helping of turnovers to handle the VMI Keydets in the team's home opener at a crowded Robins Stadium on Saturday.
We learned a few lessons about the Spiders on Saturday. We learned that safety David Jones has an instinct for finding the ball. We learned that Seth Fisher can run over just about anyone. And we learned that the Spiders have seemingly unlimited players who can contribute.
Here's an eye-opener: the Spiders used two quarterbacks to throw to a combined 11 different receivers and eight different players ran the ball. That's 21 different players touching the balls for Richmond. You don't see that too often.
Need another noteworthy stat? The Spiders forced five turnovers yesterday. Four interceptions, one fumble recovery. In 2012, Richmond earned a nice trophy to display when the team had the best turnover margin in the FCS, but the Spiders haven't been effective in that department since. Yesterday was promising.
Two of those interceptions came from Jones, who now has three picks in three games. He's flashed in limited playing time before and now that he's starting, he's taking advantage of his opportunities.
"I try to watch a lot of film to put myself in the best position to make my defense better," Jones said. "I have a little athleticism, but at the same time I give credit to the D-line, linebackers and safeties."
The other two interceptions were caught by cornerback Ayo Ogunniyi and linebacker Madison Day, who both ended their respective plays in the endzone. Ogunniyi broke on a pass on VMI's first drive and walked in for a touchdown, and Day caught a high wobbler that was a result of quarterback pressure.
Although defense highlighted the day, Richmond's offense was efficient as well. The Spiders rushed for 254 yards, 160 of which came from Seth Fisher and Jacobi Green. That combination has been golden for Richmond since last season.
"Seth and Jacobi are really a legitimate one-two punch for us," coach Danny Rocco said. "In the second half, we got the run game going. I thought we had great balance."
Kyle Lauletta's performance was quietly reassuring as well. His first nine completions were all to a different receiver, highlighted by a 53-yard touchdown to Porter Abell down the middle of the field. Lauletta looked truly comfortable for the first time this season and the Spiders' offense was in full control.
"I think it's my job as a fifth-year senior to lift [Lauletta] up just like [2014 Richmond quarterback Michael Strauss] would do to me," Fisher said. "There was one point in time tonight where he had missed a couple throws, we had to punt, and he came off and I just went up to him, I gave him a little bump on the chest. I was like, 'All right man, just keep your composure. We're gonna need you to win this game. You got my back, we got your back.'"
Despite a clean game with just four total penalties, Richmond's injury bug has stuck around. Brian Brown did not play because of back issues, Reggie Diggs appeared to tweak something early on, and a few defenders were slightly banged up throughout the game. Luckily for the Spiders, they have two weeks until their next game against Maine.
"We've been here since August 5th, so even though we're only three games into the season, we kind of are at the halfway point of the regular season," Rocco said. "To be quite frank, my team needs a little break in the action."
Richmond will host Maine on Oct. 3, which is also parent's weekend.
Contact Sports Editor Charlie Broaddus at firstname.lastname@example.org