Richmond D Is Key To Spiders Continued Success vs. Yale

Richmond's Maurice Jackson Brings The Energy

Hot off two impressive wins in Colonial Athletic Association play, the Richmond Spiders return to Robins Stadium for a non-conference date with Yale out of the Ivy League.


Who: Yale (3-1) at Richmond (3-3) 

When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m. ET 

Where: Robins Stadium; Richmond, Virginia  

Watch: LIVE on FloFootball


Although the Ivies play non-scholarship football, this is an exceedingly tough bunch. Spiders coach Russ Huesman knows that well. 

“Watching film on them…excellent football team with really good players on both sides of the ball,” he said. 

The Bulldogs were picked to win the Ivy League, and started the year 3-0. Among their early wins included a defeat of a common opponent with Richmond, Fordham. A one-score loss to the Rams ended a three-game skid for the Spiders. 

For Yale, Fordham was the last opponent in the three-game winning streak. The Elis’ Ivy League title hopes took an initial hit last week, however, in a 42-10 loss at Dartmouth. 

Despite the setback, this is a program with high-caliber FCS players. Just look at last season when Yale beat eventual CAA champion Maine, 35-14. 

Turnover Opportunities

Richmond’s outstanding defensive play against two of the most prolific passing attacks in the CAA provides the Spiders some momentum heading into Week 8. Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings threw as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns, and he was replaced in the loss to Dartmouth by Griffin O’Connor. 

The youngster from California O’Connor has completed 51.9 percent of his 27 attempts. The prospect of pressuring the sophomore looms for a talented Richmond defensive line, including arguably the front-runner for the Buck Buchanan Award, Maurice Jackson. 

The Spiders’ interception numbers are low through six games with three total, but it’s only a matter of time before the pressure that has resulted in 15 sacks and nine quarterback hurries presents takeaway opportunities. 

Explosive Pass Plays

Dartmouth’s scores against Yale a week ago included the following big plays: 

  • 75-yard pass
  • 31-yard pass
  • 61-yard pass

Although neither Joe Mancuso nor Beau English has put up gaudy passing numbers, each has delivered explosive passing touchdowns thus far in 2019. In fact, of the team’s six passing touchdowns, four were of 36 yards or more. 

Yale’s rush defense has been rock-solid, holding opponents to 3.2 yards per carry and just 90 yards per game. Richmond is a run-first team, but spreading the Elis out with some big pass plays early may be the most effective counter. 

Yale's opponents average 245.8 passing yards per game, and a noteworthy 9.4 yards per attempt. Saturday could be a highly productive afternoon for Keyston Fuller, Richmond’s big-play weapon. He’s averaging 20.8 yards per reception and a shade below 94 per game. 

Time & Distance

Methodical might best describe the Yale game plan. The Elis dominate the ball with a whopping 36:31-to-23:29 time of possession advantage. 

It’s an effective means of grinding down an opponent, aided with the defense’s effectiveness in getting off the field. Opponents average just 26 percent on third downs. That’s an element of the game with which Richmond has struggled at 33.8 percent successful conversions. 

But one way of making third down easier is to avoid penalties. The Spiders did that entirely in Week 7, drawing not a single flag. 

While their third-down production remained consistent, shortening the length to go for first down in general helps a team with the multifaceted rushing approach the Spiders employ. 

Spring Comes Early At William & Mary As Tribe Returns To The Gridiron

Mike London Is Back With The Tribe

Barely moments after the last piece of confetti fell in Frisco, signaling the end of the 2019 college football season, William & Mary opened its spring practice season in Williamsburg, kicking off the 2020 campaign. 

Elon's Matt Foster Selected As CAA Football Scholar-Athlete Of The Year

RICHMOND, Va. (February 11, 2020) – Elon senior tight end Matt Foster was selected as the 2019 CAA Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year by a vote of the conference’s athletics directors.

CAA Signing Day In Review: 'Nova, JMU Cap Impressive Hauls

The implementation of an early signing period in December has altered the dynamics of National Signing Day in February somewhat. Still, the first Wednesday of the month marks an important milestone in the development of any college football program. 

D'Eriq King To Arkansas? A Knee-Jerk Observation

A beautiful thing happened as LSU’s coronation tour neared its grand conclusion on Monday night: Breaking news, as D’Eriq King Tweeted, “Just kidding, I’m definitely leaving Houston — probably always was.”

Mecole Hardman Sparked A Chiefs Comeback, But First He Called His Shot

With Kansas City trailing Houston 24-0 in the second quarter of Sunday's AFC Divisional round playoff game, Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman returned a kick from his own end zone all the way back to the Texan 42-yard line, injecting life into his team and into a rabid crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.

James Madison Fell Short, But The Dukes Aren't Going Anywhere

FRISCO, Texas — Were James Madison and North Dakota State to play 100 times, it’s easy to predict that they would split the series 50-50. 

The Stage Is Set For An FCS Championship For The Ages

FRISCO, Texas -- Although James Madison and North Dakota State ended the 2018 season on much different notes, their paths to meeting in the 2019 season’s title game were similar. And the gap between them now feels immeasurable.  

The Only Thing Bigger Than Ron'Dell Carter's Personality Is His Game

FRISCO, Texas -- Draw up a blueprint for the ideal football star: What qualities spring to mind? 

Power Five Transfers Have Fueled JMU's Run To Frisco

FRISCO, Texas -- They came from the ACC, the American, the Big Ten to be here in Texas, by way of Harrisonburg. 

3 Things To Watch As James Madison Aims To Dethrone North Dakota State

Pair two teams as similar — and as excellent — as James Madison and North Dakota State, and just a single facet can completely change the game.