The University of Richmond football team lost to the Villanova University Wildcats by a score of 45-21 Saturday afternoon in the Spiders' homecoming game.
Seven turnovers, five interceptions and two lost fumbles prevented Richmond from surmounting Villanova’s early lead.
“We were outplayed and outcoached,” Richmond head coach Russ Huesman said. “We’ll watch the film and I know these guys play hard. Playing hard doesn’t guarantee anything. You need to play smart and and execute.”
The game began as the Spiders and Wildcats each failed to score in their first drives. Villanova scored first on 19-yard touchdown rush from senior running back Aaron Forbes with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
On Richmond’s first drive of the second quarter, redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Mancuso had a 30-yard run to enter the Villanova red zone. He later threw a pass that redshirt senior receiver Jarmal Bevels ran into the end zone but quickly fumbled after being tackled. The ball went out of bounds, negating the touchdown and giving possession back to Villanova, which would score a 40-yard field goal on the drive.
Richmond responded, marching 75 yards downfield on the next drive, culminating in a two-yard touchdown rush from Mancuso with 6:20 left to play in the half to cut the deficit to 10-7.
Villanova scored again with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Qadir Ismail to wide receiver Jarrett McClenton with 1:56 in the half.
Mancuso threw his second interception of the game to Villanova defensive back Christian Benford on the following drive. Villanova capitalized on Richmond’s third turnover with a 20-yard field goal that put them up 20-7 at halftime.
Richmond started the second half with the ball and wasted no time capturing momentum. After the Spiders failed to convert on third down, the Spiders special teams unit faked a punt to allow linebacker Dale Matthews Jr. a 29-yard run.
Two plays later, Mancuso handed the ball off to wide receiver Caleb Drake, and Drake to threw it back to Mancuso for a 28-yard touchdown.
On the following possession, junior defensive back Daniel Jones intercepted a pass from Ismail to give possession right back to his offense. The Spiders went three and out, however, and a bad snap on the punt attempt allowed the Wildcats to start possession on the Richmond 17-yard line. They would miss a 32-yard field goal on the drive.
The Spiders’ comeback bid lost momentum when Mancuso threw a pick six to cornerback Nowooola Awopetu. Villanova then completed a two-point conversion for a 28-14 lead.
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Villanova scored another 10 points in the third quarter, including a touchdown off of an interception from Richmond redshirt junior quarterback Kevin Johnson, who replaced Mancuso earlier in the quarter. Richmond pulled Johnson after the interception, his second, and put in redshirt sophomore Reid Chenault.
Huesman said Mancuso had been pulled from the game as part of concussion protocol but said he hoped he would be better for the remaining games.
Spider quarterbacks combined for five interceptions and only one throwing touchdown, a 7-yard pass from Chenault in the fourth quarter.
“It’s not one person,” senior offensive lineman John Yarbrough said. “Moving forward we have the senior game and the Capital Cup. That what I’m looking forward to and I’m going to tell people that’s where the motivation has to be.”
Richmond’s record fell to 3-6 and 1-5 in conference play.
The Spiders play Maine at 3 p.m. next Saturday at E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.
Contact sports editor Andrew Wilson at email@example.com.
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