Oct. 31, 2009

TOWSON, Md. - No. 1 Richmond scored 22 points in a three-minute span in the third quarter and toppled Towson, 42-14, Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md. Senior QB Eric Ward was 11-of-14 passing for 177 yards and two TDs for the Spiders, who are off to their best start in school history at 8-0.

Freshman FB Kendall Gaskins scored three of the Spiders six touchdowns, while senior TB Justin Forte surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second-straight game with 121 yards on 22 carries and a TD.

With the win, the Spiders (8-0, 6-0) remain in sole possession of first place in the CAA Football South Division, while extending the FCS's longest winning streak to 17 games. Now off to its best start in the 127-year history of Richmond Football, the Spiders have won 11-consecutive road contests -- the longest active streak in Division-I football.

The victory sets the stage for a Top-5 showdown next Saturday when No. 4 Villanova (7-1, 4-1) visits UR Stadium on the Spiders' Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. in a game that holds huge postseason and CAA Football title implications.

Richmond trailed 14-13 early in the third quarter, but the quick-strike Spiders seized complete control by scoring the game's final 29 points - including 22-consecutive in a 2:32 span in the third.

Forte capped a 62-yard drive with a 10-yard TD run at the 8:01-mark and the Spiders drew even with their first two-point conversion of the season -- a pass from Ward to Jordan Mitchell.

Richmond forced a quick three-and-out, then Jonathan Mayfield recovered a fumble on Towson's fake-punt attempt at the three-yard line. Gaskins scored on the next play, followed by a 23-yard interception return for TD by sophomore Tremayne Graham just three plays from scrimmage later.

Gaskins, whose first TD rush of the game gave the Spiders a 13-7 lead before the break, scored again on a 10-yard pass from Ward with 11:37 left in the game to cap the scoring.

The Spiders dominated the game with a 13-minute advantage in time of possession thanks to four scoring drives of 62 yards or longer. Richmond limited Towson to just 49 yards of total offense in the second half and out-gained them 420-164 for the game.

Junior LB Eric McBride led the defensive effort with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Junior DT Martin Parker had seven stops (two for loss).

Richmond was able to rest many of its offensive and defensive starters in the fourth quarter.

After Towson (2-6, 1-4) kept the Spiders off the board in the first quarter - its first time holding an opponent scoreless in the opening quarter this season - Ward put Richmond on the board first when he hit senior TE William Bischoff early in the second for Bischoff's first career score.

QB Tommy Croninger drew the Tigers even with a TD pass on the ensuring drive and his 12-yard scamper early in the third quarter gave Towson its first lead over Richmond since the Tigers stunned the Spiders 23-21 on a last-second TD pass in 2007. Richmond never trailed in a 45-14 rout at UR Stadium last season.

Ward completed his 11 passes to seven different targets, including three catches for 74 yards to sophomore Donte Boston. Sophomore Tre Gray reeled in two for 58 yards.

Towson gained just 80 yards on the ground, while three different Tiger QBs combined to go 10-of-19 for 84 yards.