Dominant defensive play and a four-touchdown performance by quarterback Kevin Johnson led the University of Richmond football team to a 52-7 victory over the Fordham Rams Saturday night in the Spiders’ home opener.

With the win, the Spiders evened their record to 1-1 after last week’s loss at the University of Virginia. The win is the Spiders’ 13th straight in home openers.     

Richmond senior wide receiver Dejon Brissett said the team members had felt additional pressure and motivation to play well at home after last week.

“We were disappointed in our performance last week, and coming in here we knew we had to play well," Brissett said.

The Spiders started the scoring early. Johnson, a redshirt junior, rushed for 8 yards for a touchdown to complete a 69-yard drive with a little over five minutes left in the first quarter. 

That drive also included exciting plays from running back Deontez Thompson, a redshirt junior. He ran two yards to earn a first down on a fourth-down play and later had a 21-yard run to enter the Fordham red zone.   

Fordham finally seemed to gain offensive momentum in the second quarter until Ram quarterback Luke Medlock threw an interception to Spider defensive back Dionte Austin, a junior, on the Richmond 17-yard line. 

The Spiders would go on to score a field goal on that drive and enter half-time leading 17-0. The Richmond defense played well in the first half, not only keeping Fordham scoreless, but also not allowing a first down until the second quarter.

In the first play of the second half, Johnson threw a quick pass to Brissett, who would break free from the Ram defenders and run to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown.

Richmond’s strong defensive play continued in the second half as well. On Fordham’s first drive of the half, the defense forced Medlock to fumble and Spider defensive lineman Andrew Clyde, a redshirt senior, recovered to gain possession.

The Spiders scored a touchdown on the following drive, and redshirt freshman Jordan Payne intercepted another Medlock pass on the next possession. Thompson capitalized on the momentum, running 51 yards for a touchdown.

These plays were only the start of an explosive third quarter for the Spiders, in which they scored 35 points and Fordham turned the ball over three times.

“Guys started making plays and having fun out there,” Richmond head coach Russ Huesman said. “It got out of hand after that.”

Johnson finished the game having thrown for 273 yards with two passing touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns.

Brissett had four receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown.

The Richmond defense held the Rams to -3 rushing yards total and combined for five sacks and three interceptions.

The Spiders play at home against Saint Francis at 2 p.m. next Saturday.