RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The No. 21 Richmond Spider football team downed the No. 19 William & Mary Tribe, 34-20, in an offensive battle Saturday night in "The Oldest Rivalry in the South" at Zable Stadium to keep the Capital Cup in Richmond.
The Spiders outgained the Tribe 473-320 in total yards with the help of 291 passing and 182 rushing yards. Capital Cup MVP QB Michael Strauss led both teams with all 291 passing yards off 29-of-40 passes and two touchdowns. Both passing TDs came from WR Reggie Diggs for his first multi-touchdown game of his career. The junior finished the day with a team-high seven receptions for 53 yards.
RB Seth Fisher had a big day as well, rushing for 123 yards on 22 attempts and two touchdowns. WR Rashad Ponder picked up 90 yards off six catches with a long of 36.
William & Mary (7-5, 4-4 CAA) came into today with only eight turnovers – which ranks among national leaders – and the Spiders forced three while giving up none on the day. Five Spiders notched a team-high six tackles, including DB Tafon Mainsah with a career high.
After the two teams traded early field goals, William & Mary scored on a 60-yard pass from QB Steve Cluley to WR Sean Ballard that took the 10-3 lead with five minutes to go in the first.
Richmond bounced right back and tied the score at 10 on its next possession. The Spiders capped off a 7-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard run by Fisher on a wildcat play that was set up by a 36-yard catch from Ponder.
After LB Eric Wright recovered a fumble off a botched snap on the W&M 30, the Spiders took the 17-10 lead with Diggs diving in the end zone for a 13-yard pass from Strauss. With that pass, Strauss became just the third player in Richmond history to throw 50-career touchdowns.
The Spiders had an opportunity to increase their lead to two scores after DB Ayo Ogunniyi picked off his third interception of the season with seven minutes left in the half. But Richmond was stopped on fourth down for just the second time this season at the W&M 36.
The Tribe used their momentum to tie the score at 17 with 1:23 left in the second quarter on a six-yard pass to Ballard.
Richmond responded with a 9-play, 69-yard scoring drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal from K Peter Yoder to go into halftime with a 20-17 lead. The Spiders outgained the Tribe 273-226 in total yards with the help of 197 in passing. Straus completed 17-of-27 passes for one touchdown. Ponder led Richmond with 68 yards of just four catches. DB Justin Grant led the team with six tackles defensively.
Yoder's field goal at the end of the half bumped his career total to 18, which tied him for the single-season FGs made school record.
The Spider defense came out of the half and held William & Mary to just three points on the first possession with a 25-yard field goal that tied the score at 20.
Richmond ran away with it midway through the third quarter. Fisher found a hole on a first-and-10 situation and picked up a career-long 42-yard touchdown run to give the Spiders the 27-20 lead with 7:18 left in the third.
After Wright forced the Tribe's first fumble that was recovered by DL Evan Kelly on the W&M 17, the Spiders put seven points on the board to make it a two-score ball game with a two-yard TD pass from Strauss to Diggs that secured the victory with 8:02 left the in the contest.
The win improves the Spiders to 8-4 on the season and 5-3 in the CAA, including nationally ranked victories over No. 3/4 Villanova and road wins against Big South Champion Liberty and No. 19/22 William & Mary.
The Richmond Spiders now wait for its fate in the 2014 NCAA Playoffs, which will be determined Sunday morning at 11:00am. The 2014 NCAA DI Football Championship Selection Show will be aired live on ESPNU.