The Richmond Spiders head to Charlottesville coming off of a 55-10 victory in the season opener against Morehead State. Richmond's offense will face a tough test against a Virginia defense that allowed just one offensive touchdown against 11th-ranked University of California Los Angeles.
This year's team has maturity, confidence and talent. The Spiders will need to bring these strengths to Charlottesville for the game against UVA this weekend.
Every morning when Sherman Logan wakes and struggles to get out of bed he reflects on his football career.
This past Sunday, Denver Broncos defensive linebacker Paris Lenon, Richmond College '00, represented University of Richmond in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Lenon, 36, was a redshirt freshman in 1997 when he was selected for the First Team All-Conference for the Atlantic 10.
Former University of Richmond athletic greats Sean Casey (baseball) and Lou Wacker (football) will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in late April.
The University of Richmond football team has not been able to win close games this season before Saturday's 46-43 win at Delaware (7-4, 4-3). The Spiders had lost the five games that have been decided by seven points or fewer this season. Richmond (5-6, 3-4 CAA) led Saturday's game by as much as 19 points in the second half and did not trail until Delaware running back Andrew Pierce scored on an 11-yard run with 45 seconds left, giving the Blue Hens a 43-39 lead. The Spiders looked doomed to lose another close game, but Richmond quarterback Michael Strauss led a 75-yard drive that concluded with a three-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Reggie Diggs to give Richmond the victory. "They brought that blitz on that last play," Strauss said, "and right when I saw them come, I knew I had that one-on-one on the slant." Richmond defensive lineman Kerry Wynn said a lot of people could have written the Spiders off once they fell behind, but Strauss' ability to lead the offense on the game-winning drive said a lot about him. Strauss led Richmond's offense, completing 35 of his 46 pass attempts for a school-record 543 yards and five touchdowns.
The University of Richmond athletic department annually budgets an undisclosed amount so the football team can sleep in hotels the night before home games, a practice common among almost every team in Division I football. It is not the athletic department's policy to give exact budget figures, but athletic department officials said this undisclosed amount came from private donations specified by the donor. Danny Rocco, Richmond's head coach, said the tradition was necessary for game-day performance.
There was one major difference between Reggie and Stephen Barnette when they committed to attend and play football at University of Richmond: Stephen would be a full-scholarship player, but his identical twin Reggie would not. "I was looking for a package deal," Stephen said.
Things didn't look good for the Spiders. Senior John Laub had suffered a broken ankle in a game at University of New Hampshire, and to make matters worse, University of Richmond lost the game.
Student Activities introduced a student tailgating opportunity before the football game against Virginia Military Institute last Saturday that received mixed feedback from the university community. Starting this year, any student organization can register with Student Activities for free to have one parking spot in lot R20, which is near the Carole Weinstein International Center and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, said Tonya Dawson, Student Activities' assistant director of programming. The new system is more accessible to students and places a strong emphasis on the integration of all student organizations, said Alison Keller, director of Student Activities. "There hasn't been anything comparable to this before," Keller said.
This fall marks the first season that the football players on the current University of Richmond roster were not members of the national championship team, but the effects of the 2008 win are stronger now than they were five years ago. Before quarterback Eric Ward led the Spiders to their big win, the football program did not have a great reputation.
Transfer junior quarterback Michael Rocco will not be eligible to play for the Spiders in the 2013 season, after leaving the University of Virginia this past semester. After starting all 11 games for Virginia in 2011 and eight games in 2012, Rocco decided to change schools, looking for a fresh start to his football career, he said.