RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There was one player who was in all the right places for Richmond in their upset of Duke. And it was the guy wearing #1.
Junior safety Cooper Taylor was honored Monday as both the CAA Football and Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week.
Richmond, which jumped to No. 9 in this week's Sports Network/fathead.com Top 25 after recording its third-consecutive win at Duke, was aided by Taylor's game-high 14-tackle effort in the see-saw victory. The victory was also CAA Football's 11th win over an FBS/BCS foe in six seasons, five of which have come against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Atlanta native and transfer from Georgia Tech had one tackle for loss, two for no gain, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry in his Richmond debut as the Spiders put the clamps on Duke's high-powered offense that dropped 542 yards and 41 points on Elon last season.
Taylor's key play of the game came late in the first quarter as he laid the lumber on scrambling All-ACC QB Sean Renfree, jarring the ball loose, which was recovered by Brandon Scott at the Duke 8. Three plays later, Richmond seized a 7-0 lead.
The National award for Taylor is the second of his career, after earning National Freshman of the Week honors from rivals.com in 2008 at Georgia Tech for a 10-tackle, one-interception, one-forced fumble performance in a win at Florida State.
For the Spiders, it marks the team's 10th National Weekly honor since 2007 as Taylor joins former DB Justin Rogers (Defensive 2010), former DL Nick Battle (Defensive 2009), former QB Eric Ward (Offensive twice in 2008), former RB Josh Vaughan (Offensive twice in 2008) and former RB Tim Hightower (Offensive three times in 2007).
Richmond (1-0) hosts Wagner Saturday night in the first-ever night game at Robins Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and good seats are still available.