Dec. 6, 2008

 

BOONE, N.C. - No. 7 Richmond forced seven turnovers, including five interceptions of QB Armanti Edwards, and stunned No. 2 Appalachian State, 33-13, Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium in the Quarterfinals of the 2008 FCS Playoffs. The victory snapped the FCS record 13-game winning streak in postseason play by the three-time defending National Champion Mountaineers.

Junior CB Seth Williams, who earned the start with junior David Horton injured, tied a Richmond single-game record with three interceptions, while senior TB Josh Vaughan rushed for 133 yards and a career-best three TDs. Junior QB Eric Ward added a career-best 91 yards rushing and a TD to the winning effort.

The Spiders (11-3) now advance to the FCS Semifinals for the second consecutive year and avenged last season's loss in the semis to App. State (11-3), while tying a school-record for wins (2007). Richmond faces either New Hampshire or Northern Iowa next weekend.

Edwards, who ran over the Spiders in last year's game for an FCS playoff record 313 yards, was limited to just three yards rushing on eight carries and a TD on this snowy Saturday in Boone.

Richmond bottled up the explosive ASU offense to just 39 yards on 23 carries - making the seventh-straight opponent and 11th this to not gain more than 100 yards on the ground versus Richmond. It also marked a season-low rushing total for the Apps, surpassing the 52 yards gained in their opener at LSU.

Edwards did throw for 323 yards and one touchdown, but his career-worst five interceptions all came in the second half and led to four Richmond scores, totaling 24 points.

Sophomore LB Patrick Weldon tied his career high with 11 tackles, had a career-high four tackles for loss, had a sack and a pass breakup, while fellow sophomore LB Eric McBride made 10 stops. Michael Ireland and Justin Rogers had the other interceptions.

The Spiders scored 27-second half points to pull away from ASU, after trailing 7-6 at halftime.

Richmond took the lead for good on its first drive of the second half, which resulted in a 36-yard field goal by Andrew Howard to make the score 9-7. Williams picked Edwards on the ensuing possessions and returned it 35 yards to the ASU one and Vaughan's one-yard, second-effort plunge on third down made it 16-7.

Williams picked off Edwards again on the Apps' next drive and returned this one 40 yards to the five. One play later, Ward was in the end zone to put the Spiders in control.

Edwards' TD pass late in the third quarter gave the Mountaineers and their crowd of 15,215 to life, but the fourth quarter interceptions by Ireland and Rogers each resulted in points - a 27-yard field goal by Brian Radford and a one-yard rush by Vaughan - to ice it.

Ward finished the game 10-of-21 passing for 121 yards, but had a career-day rushing with 16 carries for 91 yards and a score. He and the Spiders played a turnover-free game and owned a season-best plus-seven turnover margin.

Appalachian went three-and-out on its first series of the game and the Spider defense had made it two-straight, but Richmond was flagged for running into the kicker and the drive stayed alive. Aided by two more flags - a 15-yard face mask penalty and a pass interference penalty - ASU had the ball at the two and Edwards' keeper up the middle put the home team up 7-0.

The Spiders took advantage of a good return by Rogers and cashed in seven plays and 59 yards later, thanks to a 13-yard TD run by Vaughan. Andrew Howard pushed his extra point attempt wide right - just his second missed PAT in 144 career attempts - and ASU held its lead at 7-6.

The Spiders had a chance to seize the lead before halftime, but the drive stalled inside the 20 and Howard's 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right -- his first miss this season in six attempts between 30-39 yards -- with two minutes remaining.

Edwards' arm quickly moved the Apps downfield to set up a field goal attempt, but Weldon sacked Edwards for a nine-yard loss and Jason Vitaris' 38-yard field goal also sailed wide of the right upright.

The Spider secondary had seven pass breakups (three from Rogers) to go with the five interceptions, while Parker Miles and J'Nnamdi Smaugh had the fumble recoveries.