Lehigh lost its home opener against Richmond, falling 30-6 at Goodman Stadium on Saturday of Parents Weekend.
Richmond had over 400 yards of total offense and its top two receivers combined for over 180 yards.
Richmond’s quarterback and recent transfer from Maryland, Reece Udinski, is on the official watchlist for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the Football Championship Subdivision’s most valuable offensive player. Udinski completed 36 of his 43 passes and threw for two touchdowns.
“He’s a great quarterback,” coach Tom Gilmore said. “We knew that coming in. He was able to move the ball, and we were playing too loose, and they were able to move the chains.”
Lehigh’s junior quarterback Dante Perri completed nearly two-thirds of his passes, which consisted almost entirely of short gains, with the Mountain Hawks struggling to make up ground on offense despite completing 22 passes.
After Lehigh deferred on the coin toss, Richmond stormed down the field within four minutes to score on the first drive of the day.
Both offenses weren’t able to get anything going for the rest of the first quarter. Richmond then kicked off the second quarter with a 10-play drive, which took the Spiders 84 yards.
Lehigh junior linebacker Mike DeNucci said the large gains for Richmond were due to the defense’s inconsistencies. DeNucci had a game-high nine tackles but overlooked his performance when considering the game’s outcome.
“It doesn’t really matter what I did personally,” DeNucci said. “We lost. I’m not really going to look at my personal achievements when we didn’t win.”
Another defensive stop for Richmond forced Lehigh to punt on the next drive and Richmond would drive down the field and score yet again to extend its lead to 20-0 before the end of the first half.
In the first half alone, Richmond had 15 first downs on offense.
“At halftime, we all sat down and talked together in our position groups as a D-Unit just talking about how to be more consistent,” DeNucci said.
Lehigh got its first points of the day in the second half on a one-play drive which saw Perri find senior running back Zaythan Hill for a 77-yard run down the sideline, putting Lehigh down 20-6 following a missed extra point.
“That kind of spark, those explosive plays, we can do it,” Hill said.
Richmond would score again later in the third quarter on a trick play for its running back who found a wide-open receiver 30 yards downfield in the end zone to increase its lead to 27-6.
Gilmore said he thought the defense was set up well for the play despite the touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, Richmond would add a 34-yard field goal to extend its lead to 30-6. The Spiders ran out the clock to pick up their second straight win of the season to improve their record to 2-1.
The game was played in front of a larger crowd than usual due to Lehigh’s Family Weekend. Tailgates were held before the game, and there were buses for students and families to be transported to and from Goodman Stadium.
“There’s a special atmosphere at Goodman Stadium: the setting, the crowd and all the support we get,” Gilmore said. “We need to do our part and start winning these football games we play in Goodman Stadium.”
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