Around 8,200 were in attendance at Robins Stadium as the University of Richmond football team lost against the College of William & Mary 37-26 on Nov. 19 in the team’s final regular game of the season.
With this loss, the Spiders surrendered both the Capital Cup Classic and the Colonial Athletic Association Championship to the Tribe in the sold out game. It was also the Spiders’ senior day.
While the team did not find its way into the endzone until 12:47 left in the second quarter, early on, the Spiders took control of the game.
UR’s first two offensive possessions both yielded points in the form of field goals from redshirt sophomore kicker Andrew Lopez and the Spiders held the Tribe to back-to-back three-and-outs, which both resulted in punts.
However, once the Tribe’s offense got more settled into the game, William & Mary never looked back. On every remaining possession in the first half, the Tribe put points on the scoreboard to answer UR’s quick start.
At halftime, William & Mary led UR 17-13.
The second half yielded a similar fate for the Spiders as the team punted on its first two drives of the second half, allowing the Tribe to move ahead by a larger margin. With 6:49 left in the third quarter, the Tribe completed one pass play that garnered a touchdown, making the score 31-13.
UR did decrease the deficit, though. A passing touchdown from graduate quarterback Reece Udinski to graduate wide receiver Jakob Herres — his second receiving touchdown of the game — cut the score to 31-20.
The Spiders then forced a punt on the defensive end and UR scored again — a rushing touchdown from redshirt senior running back Aaron Dykes. His score made it a five-point game at 31-26.
Despite UR forcing several third-down plays, the Tribe was able to score again, making the score 37-26 and putting the game out of reach with 3:41 in the game to go. The Spiders ended the game with a punt and a turnover on downs, giving William & Mary the final possession where the Tribe kneeled in victory.
On the day, Udinski threw for 32 completions, 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, graduate wide receiver Leroy Henley had nine receptions for 100 yards and Herres also had nine receptions, in addition to his two touchdown catches.
“I think they [William & Mary] played a good game,” Herres said in the postgame press conference. “I think they played better than us. But we gotta rebound. We got playoffs to play so I still think we’re the best offense in the country.”
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UR head coach Russ Huesman said in the press conference the game was tough for the Spiders defensively and he did not think the team played its best football.
“We had some opportunities,” he said. “That last touchdown, the last drive, we had two third downs. We have to know the situation and we have to sit on routes. We can’t just say it’s third and five and throw a six-yard pass. We have to understand those situations.”
Coming into the game, the Spiders had won five straight games, were 4-0 at home and were ranked 11th in the Football Championship Subdivision standings. With this loss, the team will finish 8-3 on the season with a 6-2 record in conference play.
Despite the loss, and despite not winning the CAA championship, though, the team still made the playoffs.
“We won’t be a seed, I know that,” Huesman said before the qualification was announced. “I just hope and pray we get in the thing. I’ve seen stranger things happen, but there’s no way they can keep us out. I can’t imagine it at all.”
UR’s last appearance in the FCS playoffs was in 2016. There, the Spiders defeated North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in the first round and the University of North Dakota in the second round. UR ultimately lost to Eastern Washington University in the quarterfinals.
“I think we’re pretty pissed off that one of our goals was definitely to win a CAA Championship and it could have gotten done, but we didn’t get it done,” Herres said. “But we’re grateful to have more football to play and put ourselves in a position to play in the playoffs so just kind of capitalize on that.”
Contact sports writer Jimmy James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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