Richmond still No. 1 after holding off James Madison

By Neil Carroll

The No. 1 Richmond football team held off No. 16 James Madison, 21-17, in Colonial Athletic Association football on Saturday, due to timely defense and a fourth quarter touchdown pass by Spiders’ quarterback Eric Ward.

Richmond (5-0, 3-0 CAA) trailed James Madison (2-3, 0-2 CAA) by three points with seven minutes, 20 seconds left in the game, until Ben Keating caught Ward’s seven-yard pass in the end zone. The catch made the score 21-17, and allowed Richmond to rely on its defense to hold off the visiting Dukes in Virginia.

Keating, a redshirt junior fullback, had  two 1-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter, and also added three catches for 24 yards receiving with the go-ahead touchdown catch.

After Keating’s score, JMU drove the ball 40 yards in six minutes to the Richmond 6-yard line. However with under a minute to play and first and goal, Dukes quarterback Justin Thorpe fumbled the ball on a rush, and Richmond recovered – ending any chance that the Dukes had at winning the game.

Thorpe finished the game with 14 rushes for 58 yards, and completed 7-of-15 passes for 87 yards and two interceptions.

The Richmond defense, led by senior linebacker Collin McConaghy, shut out James Madison in the second half. McConaghy’s 14 total tackles were the most for either team.


Thanks to kicker Tom Manning’s two fourth quarter field goals, New Hampshire upset undefeated CAA opponent Villanova, 28-24, on Saturday at home.

Manning booted two kicks of 35 and 22-yards through the uprights in the final quarter to give UNH a four-point victory and upset the then-No. 2 Wildcats. New Hampshire, who was ranked fifth last week in the Sports Network FCS poll, moved up a spot to No. 4 as Villanova dropped down to sixth.

New Hampshire’s Scott Sicko led all receivers with 135 yards on three catches with one touchdown. His quarterback, R.J. Toman, completed 15-of-28 passes for 292 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Villanova’s two-quarterback system ultimately could not create enough offense against UNH’s defense. Quarterback Chris Whitney ran 19 times for 33 yards and completed 10-of-18 passes for 109 yards with one touchdown and one interception.       

Fellow quarterback Antwon Young threw for 62 yards on 7-of-15 passes but ran nine times for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Villanova (5-1, 2-1 CAA) will try to rebound from their first loss of the season next week on the road against JMU. Coming off of the win, UNH (5-0, 2-0 CAA) will travel to Amherst to face UMass this Saturday.

Tribe comeback

Although William and Mary trailed 7-6 to Northeastern University at halftime, the Tribe scored 28 unanswered, second half points on the road to defeat the Huskies 34-14 on Saturday.

Halfback Jonathan Grimes sparked the Tribe’s second-half rally with 14 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow Tribe running back Courtland Marriner added 40 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Carroll led Northeastern with 238 yards passing, completing 16-of-28 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. However, Carroll received little help from the rest of the offense as the Tribe defense held all Huskies to fewer than 100 yards rushing combined.

William and Mary quarterback R.J. Archer had an efficient performance while completing 22-of-31 passing attempts for 188 yards. Archer also added 26 yards on seven carries with one rushing touchdown.

With the win Tribe (5-1, 2-1 CAA) moved up to seventh in the polls, while Northeastern (0-6, 0-3 CAA) stays winless on the 2009 season.

Neil Carrol can be reached at [email protected]