Sept. 18, 2010
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND –
Courtesy of Richmond Athletics
Senior RB Tyler Kirchoff scored on a 16-yard run in overtime, capping off an emotional Saturday on the University of Richmond campus as the No. 9 Spiders beat No. 7 Elon, 27-21, in the inaugural game played at E. Claiborne Robins Stadium. It marked the first career win for rookie head coach Latrell Scott.
After playing 81 years downtown at UR Stadium, the Spiders (1-1) debuted their new $25-million venue to a sold-out, red-clad crowd of 8,700 (nearly 2,200 of which were UR students). Pregame game ceremonies included skydivers delivering the game ball and the unveiling of the team’s championship banners that surround the stadium.
With the win, the Spiders improved to 9-1 all-time in games decided in overtime and have won six-straight OT games.
Kirchoff’s winning score came two plays after senior DL Casey Cooley swatted away a 37-yard field goal attempt by Adam Schreiner that would have given the edge to the Phoenix (1-2), who took momentum into the overtime by scoring on the game’s final play to force extra time.
Elon senior All-America QB Scott Riddle, who threw for 319 yards on 34-of-55 passing and three TDs, hit Aaron Mellete with a 25-yard strike in the back of the end zone as time expired and Shreiner converted the tying PAT.
Mellette finished with a school-record 18 catches for a career-best 195 yards and two TDs – the first of which put Elon on the board on the game’s opening drive.
For the Spiders, junior QB Aaron Corp was 18-for-32 passing with 206 yards and his first TD pass as a Spider – hitting senior WR Kevin Grayson in the back of the end zone that tied the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter. Tre Gray reeled in six catches for 73 yards, while Grayson had six for 57.
Seven Spiders combined to gain 116 yards rushing, with a trio of rushing scores from Kirchoff, (six carries, 26 yards) sophomore FB Kendall Gaksins (nine, 29) and junior RB Garrett Wilkins (nine, 33). Corp also rushed nine times for 28 yards.
After the game was deadlocked at 14-14 for nearly 30 minutes of action, Richmond took its first lead on an eight-yard burst from sophomore FB Kendall Gaskins with 1:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That drive was not without controversy as sophomore K Wil Kamin nailed a 42-yard field goal on fourth-and-20 that would have given the Spiders a 17-14 lead. But Elon was penalized for roughing the kicker, and the drive continued with the automatic first down. Three plays later, Richmond got its much-needed seven-point cushion.
It was an 18-play drive that gave Richmond the lead, and the Spiders drew even at 14-14 on Wilkins nine-yard TD with 1:18 to play in the first half thanks to another long 18-play drive.
After Grayson’s TD catch – the 13th of his career that moved him to tied for eighth on the Spiders’ all-time list – tied the game at 7-7, Elon regained the lead when Riddle hit A.J. Harris with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Redshirt freshman LB Darrius McMillan led the Spiders with a career-best 10 tackles. Senior All-America DL Martin Parker had five tackles, and kept Riddle on the run all afternoon with a game-high four QB hurries.
Saturday’s meeting at Robins Stadium marked the third-straight year Richmond and Elon have met in football – at three different venues. The Spiders opened the 2008 season with a 28-10 win at Elon’s Rhode Stadium – former head coach Mike London’s first career win. Last year, the Spiders knocked the Phoenix out of the NCAA Playoffs with a first-round, 16-13 victory in the second-to-last game ever played at UR Stadium.
Richmond is back in action at Robins Stadium next Saturday, opening CAA Football play with nationally-ranked Delaware. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.
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