The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Spiders suffer devastating loss against rival JMU Dukes

<p>&nbsp;The grassy field of Robin’s Stadium sporting the Spider’s red and blue.&nbsp;</p>

 The grassy field of Robin’s Stadium sporting the Spider’s red and blue. 

The University of Richmond Spiders lost to the James Madison University Dukes this Saturday after both teams came off rough defeats with JMU losing to Villanova 28-27 and UR losing to Elon 20-7.

With quarterback and graduate student Joe Mancuso still on UR's bench after a hand injury sustained against Virginia Tech, graduate student Beau English, redshirt freshman Hardy Jackson and redshirt junior Braxton Hughes took his place. 

“I wanted to get Braxton [in the game],” said Spiders head coach Russ Huesman. “He’s all in for the University of Richmond.”

This was Hughes’s first game appearance in his career at UR. 

UR, coming off of a bye week before the rivalry game with JMU, received the ball first and faced an aggressive Duke defense. English threw an incomplete pass followed by a fumble, which he was able to recover. 

The first quarter was a game of punts. 

“We kept them for scoring touchdowns,” redshirt senior defensive lineman Kobie Turner said. “But we [need] to do a better job of controlling that field position, keeping them out of field goal range.” 

UR put on a strong defense, leaving the Dukes to punt on their fourth down. With the Spiders in possession, UR did as their opponent did, and the team quickly came upon a fourth and one leaving them to punt.

With 9:52 on the clock, JMU quickly worked its way to the UR 10-yard line with the help of a 49-yard pass from quarterback Cole Johnson to wide receiver Kris Thornton. Following an incomplete pass, the Dukes attempted and succeeded a 23-yard kick, bringing the score to 3-0.

The Spiders were unable to make any significant plays, and the ball was returned to the Dukes. 

The Dukes, working their way through UR’s defense, were able to score a touchdown from Johnson passing to running back Solomon Vanhorse with a 23-yard pass. With a good kick, the Dukes brought the score to 10-0.

In the second quarter, the Spiders worked their way up the field to the 50-yard line. The Spiders, left with little to no options, attempted a 50-yard kick that curved left.

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With 9:24 on the clock and a fourth and three count, JMU attempted a 32-yard kick and brought the score to 13-0. 

The Spiders, ready for a comeback, achieved a 34-yard pass from English to redshirt freshman Jasiah Williams, which was followed by redshirt sophomore Savon Smith running 22-yards to get the Spiders to the Duke’s 20-yard line. On their fourth down, the Spiders scored a 40-yard kick, bringing the score to 13-3 for the first half.

In the third quarter, JMU’s offense began to suffer with Johnson throwing too high then too low for two incomplete passes. At fourth and 10, the Dukes punted to UR with 14:13 on the clock. By 14:09, Hardy rushed for a loss of 5 yards and fumbled, which JMU recovered. 

The Dukes attempted a field goal and brought the score to 16-3 after being sacked for a loss of six yards. The remainder of the quarter consisted of poor and incomplete passes and little-to-no yardage gained. With 3:53 on the clock, JMU attempted another kick and brought the score to 19-3.

UR, in the final moments of the third quarter, seemed promising with 57 yards gained from Aaron Dykes receiving and running for 17 yards, English throwing two passes for 15 yards and running for 18 yards and Dykes running for seven yards. The quarter ended shortly after back-to-back sacks by the JMU defense.

In the final quarter of the game, JMU had a 73-yard punt return. Referees called an illegal block penalty, sending the Dukes back 64 yards. Hardy was brought in following Beau’s hand injury that he sustained during the game, the cause deemed undetermined by Coach Huesman, but quickly was subbed with Hughes, who rushed for 33 yards. 

“You know, adversity is nothing new to us,” Turner said during a postgame press conference. “But we’re going to come out everyday and fight our tails off everyday, every practice. We’re going to keep going and keep moving forward.”

The game ended with a Spiders timeout with 0:41 left in the game. The final score was 19-3. 

The Spiders will play again Oct. 23 against the Stony Brook Seawolves at their home field in Stony Brook, New York. 

Contact sports writer Andrew Cardounel at

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