LEXINGTON, Va. - The Richmond Spiders opened the game by returning the opening kick for a touchdown, and went on to outgain the VMI Keydets 487-197 in total yards en route to a 47-6 victory Saturday in Lexington, Va.
After Justin Grant brought the opening kick back 90 yards for a Richmond (2-1) touchdown, the Keydets (1-2) got back within four, 10-6, early in the second quarter on a one-yard run by Jabari Turner, just Turner's second career rushing touchdown. The Spiders would go on to score the next 37 points, including 28 in the third quarter, to account for the final margin.
The Keydets were undone by three turnovers, including two interceptions in the second half, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The Spiders were led by Ben Edwards, who had 11 catches for 122 yards, and VMI saw linebacker Ty Garvin (12) and safety Adam Morgan (10) notch career-highs in tackles.
The game got underway with a bang, as UR's Grant brought the kickoff back 90 yards for an opening touchdown. It was the fastest TD in a VMI football game since Sept. 20, 2008, a 74-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
Leading 7-0, Richmond forced a VMI three and out, but Edwards fumbled the David Eberhardt kick and Patrick Sexton fell on the loose ball, giving the Keydets quality field position inside Spider territory. The Keydets could not take advantage, however, and after another Eberhardt punt, UR drove 91 yards in 16 plays for a Remington Hinshaw field goal. The 20-yard kick put the visitors up, 10-0, with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
The Keydets took over with 1:42 left in the opening period and would get on the board early in the second. A 10-play, 62-yard drive that saw either Eric Kordenbrock or Turner touch the ball on every play ended with Turner's one-yard plunge, making it a 10-6 contest after a missed extra point.
From there, the teams would trade relatively unproductive possessions for the remainder of the half. Richmond had two possessions inside the VMI 20, but had to settle for just one field goal until late, when UR quarterback John Laub orchestrated a two-minute drill that ended with a 37-yard Hinshaw kick, giving the visitors a 16-6 halftime lead.
The Keydets took the ball first in the second half, but after picking up one first down, Kordenbrock was intercepted by UR's Cooper Taylor, giving the visitors possession at the VMI 41. Seven plays later, Laub connected with Kevin Finney for a four-yard touchdown pass, pushing the margin to 23-6.
The Spiders got the ball back after a Keydet punt and scored once more, as Laub had a hand in all 10 plays of a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a strong 14-yard quarterback draw. Laub was met by a Keydet defender at the two-yard line, but was able to spring over the tackler for a touchdown and a 30-6 UR lead.
UR's defense forced another Eberhardt punt and took possession once again at the 50-yard line with 2:32 left in the period. Jovan Smith took the handoff on the first play and ran around right tackle, reaching the sideline and getting through the Keydet defense for a touchdown and a 37-6 Richmond advantage. The visitors would cap their third quarter scoring when Taylor intercepted Kordenbrock for the second time and returned the pick for a 35-yard touchdown, making it a 44-6 contest.
Richmond controlled the clock in the fourth quarter, running the ball 15 times and eating up 11:06. The only fourth quarter scoring came off the foot of Hinshaw, as he hit a 22-yard field goal with 7:50 to go to account for the final margin, 47-6. Richmond concluded the day with a 78-50 edge in plays run, as well as the 487-197 total yard advantage.
VMI quarterback Kordenbrock finished 23 of 32 for 146 yards, but did move into the #6 position on VMI's all-time passing vardage listing. The junior also exceeded the 300 career completion mark. In addition, wide receiver James Rogers had a career-high six receptions. Hinshaw's four field goals were a school record for UR, while his 17 points also set a new scoring mark for UR's kickers.
VMI football will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 22, as the Keydets travel to Annapolis, Md. to take on the Navy Midshipmen. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
Quotes - VMI Head Coach Sparky Woods
"My congratulations to Richmond. They played an outstanding game, they did the things it takes to win, and we made the errors to lose. You have to kick the ball and cover kicks and not turn the ball over."
"We have to somehow eliminate pre-snap penalties. Ten yards is hard to make, 15 yards is harder."
"Our guys prepared hard, I know we have a chance to have a good season. We certainly need to learn how to not lose before we learn how to win."
"You have to be able to kick the ball and cover kicks. It was a very poor kick and then we have 11 guys out there, so there's no reason one of them can't tackle the guy, still have to get him down."
"They did a nice job. It's a lot easier to run your offense with the lead than it is to run it from behind. It's a lot easier to run your offense from the plus end of the field than it is from the negative end. They did a nice job. They knew where the first down markers were and we came up short most of the time."
"I don't think it was an effort problem. They played hard. Sometimes without hope guys might be getting lazy on their position and I think the film is going to indicate that. They tried. It doesn't take much to lose your confidence, lose your hope and sometimes that has an effect on how you play your position."
"We needed to come out in the second half and move the ball down the field and it was something that we didn't do; we ended up giving the ball to them and that was a big error right there. They (Richmond) did a nice job and executed."
"Overall, they have a good team and we were going to have to play really well to beat them. We certainly can't spot them points. It was 16-6 at the end of the first half and we let them run the (opening) kickoff back and we spotted them seven points and when we do score, we don't make the extra point."