Udinski And Richmond Spin Lehigh, 30-6

Jim Beaver/Richmond Athletics

BETHLEHEM, PA – Lehigh won the coin toss in their home opener in Murray Goodman Stadium, in front of 6,178 fans. They elected to defer.

And almost immediately, Richmond (0-0, 2-1) ,made Lehigh (1-0, 1-2) pay for that decision.

Spider QB Reece Udinski would engineer a 10 play, 74 yard drive that was a master class in efficiency.

Playing fast from the very first play, Udinski found one of his long-time favorite targets, WR Jakob Herres, for a 16 yard gain, which was the first play in a 10 play, 74 drive that finished with a 13 yard TD pass to WR Leroy Henley.

The drive took a little over four minutes, with Udinski connecting on all eight of his pass attempts during that first drive.

But Udinski wasn’t finished.

Jim Beaver/Richmond Athletics

He would go 17-for-17 on his first 17 passing attempts, scoring two passing touchdowns before his first incompletion midway through the second quarter. One of them would go to a wide-open RB Aaron Dykes in the end zone on a broken play, while later in the half he would add another score with a 2 yard TD run.

“They threw the ball a lot on normal down and distance,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore said after the game. “We weren’t able to get a rush there and he’s a great quarterback. We knew that coming in. We were playing too loose, and they were able to move the chains. Once we tightened that up, we certainly did better.”

It was a tough day overall, though, for the Mountain Hawks, as their one sustained drive on offense in the first half ended with a fumble, going into the locker room down 20-0.

“When we did play consistent, and everyone was doing their 1/11, things were OK,” LB Mike DeNicci said, who led the Mountain Hawks with nine tackles and one sack. “But there were too many missed tackles, missed assignments. At halftime, we all sat down, talked together as a D unit, talking about, we’ve got to be more consistent. Come out firing, hit the blitzes harder. We knew they were going to do those quick speed outs and that’s what we tightened up. “

A bright spot was when RB Zaythan Hill managed a 77 yard touchdown catch down the Lehigh sideline, outrunning the Richmond defender and getting a rise out of the Parent’s Day crowd.

But the Mountain Hawks were unable to get much else going on offense after that, only managing 33 total yards on 5 drives after the touchdown. Overall, Lehigh would only manage 11 first downs (one coming from a Richmond penalty), 17 net rushing yards, and 203 yards of total offense. QB Dante Perri was sacked 4 times for 29 yards of losses, adding to the picture.

“We play who we play,” Hill said after the game. “No matter if it’s CAA, Patriot League… it doesn’t really matter. We just try to go out there and play our brand of football. So, yeah, these guys are a good team, and it’s always good learning from your mistakes when you play a good team.”

Richmond held the ball for 35:24 on offense, compared to Lehigh’s 24 minutes, and didn’t turn over the ball. The Mountain Hawks turned it over twice.

“We need to win that physical game,” Gilmore said. “It’s not any one thing. Hopefully, we’re learning from the mistakes that we’re making now. Both from a coaching and playing standpoint. And if we do that, we’ll be in good shape. I think the guys will tell you ,and I’ll tell you, I have a lot of confidence that we’ll do that. It’s It kind of stinks after a loss like this, but I think we have a lot of confidence that we can do just that.”



QtrTimeScoring PlayRICLEH
1st10:49RIC – Henley,Leroy 13 yd pass from Udinski,Reece (Larson,Jake kick) 10 plays, 74 yards, TOP 04:0670
2nd14:17RIC – Dykes,Aaron 18 yd pass from Udinski,Reece ( ) 10 plays, 84 yards, TOP 04:05130
2nd11:03RIC – Dykes,Aaron 2 yd run (Larson,Jake kick), 3 plays, 51 yards, TOP 01:05200
3rd10:08LEH – Hill,Zaythan 77 yd pass from Perri,Dante ( ) 1 plays, 77 yards, TOP 00:13206
3rd03:25RIC – Deveney,Connor 23 yd pass from Smith,Savon (Larson,Jake kick) 7 plays, 62 yards, TOP 03:19276
4th03:41RIC – Larson,Jake 34 yd field goal 13 plays, 51 yards, TOP 07:29306