The Richmond Spiders picked up their first conference win of the season, beating the, 22nd ranked, Albany Great Danes 41-38 in a double overtime game Saturday afternoon.
The Spiders relied heavily on redshirt senior quarterback, Kyle Lauletta, throughout the game. Lauletta finished with three passing touchdowns for 353 yards and one rushing touchdown.
The game, however, came down to kicker Griffin Trau’s 34-yard field goal in the second overtime period.
“He must have ice water in his veins man because he just goes out there and kicks. If we protect him, I think he is going to make them,” head coach Russ Huesman said.
The game started slow for the Spiders after a scoreless opening quarter, but they found their rhythm through the air during the second quarter.
The Great Danes got on the scoreboard first as quarterback, Will Brunson, connected with wide receiver Donovan McDonald for a 30-yard touchdown with 7:29 left in the 2nd quarter.
The Spiders answered right back when Lauletta found his wide receiver Tyler Wilkins in the back of the end zone, after the Great Danes defender tipped the pass. The score capped off a three-play, 75-yard drive.
Both teams found success primarily through the air. This trend continued when the Great Danes scored its second touchdown of the second quarter on a 13-yard catch and run by Jerah Reeves with 1:13 remaining
The Spider’s offense was not fazed. Only thirty seconds left in the quarter, Lauletta responded with his own 11-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 14. The drive started with a 43-yard catch by Tyler Wilkins, giving him over 1,000 receiving yards for his career.
In the first half, the Spiders found success on quick scoring drives, taking only 1:17 for the first score and 1:29 for the second.
The game was tied 14-14 going into halftime.
In the middle of the third quarter, Great Danes Kicker, Ethan Stark, brushed off his earlier 37-yard miss and made a 25-yard field goal putting them ahead 17-14.
Lauletta continued his great play in the second half finding wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson streaking down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown, giving the Spiders a 21-17 lead.
The Great Danes would not be beaten easily. Brunson answered with a 3-yard rushing touchdown of his own with a minute left in the third quarter. And then at the start of the fourth, Brunson beat the Spiders defense with a long touchdown to Jerod Diggs for 39 yards. The Great Danes took a commanding 31-21 lead over the Spiders.
When asked about the 10-point second half deficit Lauletta responded confidently.
“I think we had some momentum going into the second half,” Lauletta said. “We knew it was only a matter of time until we would pick it up and get into a groove.”
After slowly driving down the field, dropped passes and good defense in the red zone forced the Spiders to kick a 33-yard field goal with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter. Cutting the lead to seven.
Lauletta again lead the Spiders down the field, ending in a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dejon Brissett and tying the game at 31.
Lauletta passed Eric Ward for the all-time program record for passing touchdowns with 62. Lauletta also set a school record of five straight games with at least 300 yards passing.
The Spider’s defense was also making big plays in the second half. A sack by defensive lineman Colby Ritten ended the Great Danes hopes of a game winning drive and forced overtime.
In the first overtime, the Spiders received the ball first and promptly scored on a 5-yard touchdown by running back Gordon Collins after a targeting penalty against the Great Danes gave the Spiders good field position.
Brunson, however, was not finished throwing touchdowns, connecting with his receiver Jordan Crockett for a 20-yard score and forcing a second overtime.
The Great Danes started the second overtime with the ball. The Spider's defense held Brunson and the rest of the offense, forcing a 40-yard field goal attempt.
Defensive back Daniel Jones was able to block the kick, creating an opportunity for the Spiders to win the game on either a touchdown or field goal.
On the Richmond’s next possession, the Great Danes stopped the Spiders on third down. Trau then came out to, calmly, hit the game-winning field goal.
The Spiders are looking to carry over the confidence and momentum from this game when they head up to Towson next week in another important conference matchup.
Contact sports writer Jacob Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.