Virginia overpowers Richmond

  • Pin It


Go ahead and gripe, Virginia faithful. Your Cavaliers gift-wrapped plenty of ammunition Saturday night.

But when you haven't won a football game in more than 10 months, booted your poet-laureate coach and last beat Duke three years ago, take anything you can get.

Virginia 34, Richmond 13.

Yes, it was ragged. And no, a certain band of Trojans isn't quaking in their Nikes.

But consider a few things.

Championship Subdivision pedigree aside, Richmond is not a pushover. Heck, the Cavaliers poached the Spiders' head coach, Mike London, for their very own after he guided Richmond to the 2008 national title and a 2009 playoff quarterfinal.

Moreover, Spiders quarterback Aaron Corp is a Southern California transfer — only a leg injury prevented him from beating out Matt Barkley for the starting job last season — and he was throwing into a secondary absent starting cornerback Ras-I Dowling and safety Rodney McLeod.

And after last season's 3-9 nosedive, which cost Al Groh his coaching gig and prompted his bizarre, copycatted-from-Bill-Parcells poetry reading, fans couldn't have expected a seamless opener.

Nor did they get it.

"We're not world beaters," London said with a smile.

Indeed, Dontrelle Inman's lost fumble, and two missed field goals, one each by Robert Randolph and Chris Hinkebein, and a sack of Marc Verica doomed four drives.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor temporarily forgot how the Cavaliers steamrolled the Spiders on the opening possession, when Perry Jones had runs of 38 and 5 yards, and Keith Payne rumbled for 10 and a 2-yard touchdown, the first of his four scores.

But a year after squandering its opener against William and Mary, Virginia owned the second half, outscoring Richmond 20-3.

Payne (114) and Jones (73) combined for 187 yards rushing, Verica threw for 283 (210 to Inman and Kris Burd), and LaRoy Reynolds had three tackles for loss, plus a stuffing of Kendall Gaskins on a third-quarter fourth-and-1.

"For the most part, London said, "I was satisfied."

The Cavaliers, he added, were aiming "to play a game (where) we don't self-destruct."

Hey, if a coach can't set the bar low in his first game, when can he?

London led Virginia onto the field at precisely 6 p.m., and 10 minutes later, Payne burrowed into the end zone. It was no-frills, I-formation, power football, which Lazor didn't rediscover until the third quarter, when Richmond drew within 14-13.

On consecutive plays Jones ran for 13 yards, Payne for 15, 13 and 15, and Raynard Horne for 3. Three snaps later, Payne scored from the 2.

  • Pin It