The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Football team wins 31-21 in home opener sweep

<p>Cheerleaders spread Richmond banner across the field on Sept. 10.</p>

Cheerleaders spread Richmond banner across the field on Sept. 10.

The University of Richmond kicked off its second football game of the regular season and first home game against Saint Francis University on Sept. 10 with a 31-21 win, marking its 17th straight home opener win.

In the first quarter, the Red Flash’s series of plays placed them within range where a good kick through the uprights gained a 3-0 lead for SFU. 

With a little more than three minutes left in the quarter, the Red Flash were only 10 yards away from the end zone when a rush attempt was stopped by senior linebacker Tristan Wheeler. SFU followed the play with another field goal attempt that gained SFU a 6-0 lead against UR.

In the second quarter, the Spiders were within 12 yards of the endzone and a complete pass to open senior running back Savon Smith gave UR the needed yards to gain a 7-6 lead. 

A pass to wide open redshirt senior running back Aaron Dykes gave UR the opportunity to score its second touchdown and a lead of 14-6 with 4:57 left on the clock.

With 2:35 on the clock, UR threw a hail mary pass and SFU intercepted the ball at the 45-yard line. With 1:35 left in the second quarter, SFU had a 55-yard pass for a TD and PAT, bringing the score to 14-13 with UR leading by one. 

“That was a tough one,” said Spiders Head Coach Russ Huesman, who gave credit to graduate quarterback Reece Udinski for the play and his decision to take the call back if given the chance. 

The third quarter started off slowly for both the Spiders and Red Flash as both teams’ initial drives yielded no results. 

“We execute on offense,” Huesman said. “Our offensive line is really good, I think our backs are really good, I think our wide outs are really good.” 

In the last quarter, UR made its way up the field to the 40-yard line with a third-and-6 count. The boys in red and blue kept the momentum going and scored a touchdown with a pass to junior wide receiver Jasiah Williams and a PAT from senior kicker Jake Larson, bringing the score to 24-13. 

Within three plays, SFU made its way into Spider territory at the 41-yard line, and a 28-yard pass got them to the 13-yard line. A pass and rush brought the Red Flash another touchdown followed by a conversion at 6:48, leaving SFU only three points behind UR. 

With a little over three minutes left in the game, Smith broke the SFU defense and ran the ball back-to-back for a combined 37-yard gain, leaving the Spiders within 27 yards of the end zone. The yard gain brought no results. The Spiders sat with a fourth-and-four count and an incomplete pass forced the change of possession. 

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SFU threw a pass that was intercepted by redshirt senior defensive back Aaron Banks. Banks ran 35 yards for a touchdown, and a PAT by Larson brought UR to a 31-21 lead with 1:22 left in the game. Banks one-upped himself with a second interception seconds later as the game came to an end.

“[The QB] just threw it up, nobody was there but me,” Banks said. “Credit to the linebackers of the [defensive] line.”

The Spiders will play again at noon on Sept. 17 against Lehigh University at the Mountain Hawk's nest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at

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