Big plays help Villanova rally past Richmond 35-28

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Nowooola Awopetu returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and T.D. Ayo-Durojaiye capped a rally with a 20-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter to lead Villanova to a 35-28 victory over Richmond on Saturday.

Dee Wil Barlee rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown and Daniel Smith ran for 105 yards and two scores for the Wildcats (7-3, 4-3 Colonial Athletic Association).

Joe Mancuso threw two TD passes and ran for 89 yards and two scores for the Spiders (5-5, 4-2).

After Awopetu’s kick-return score, Mancuso had a 25-yard TD run to pull Richmond even. Smith scored on a 25-yard run to regain the lead for the Wildcats, but Mancuso raced 35 yards for a TD to knot the score at 14 after one quarter.

Mancuso put the Spiders up 21-14 with a 15-yard TD toss to Keyston Fuller just 1:36 into the second quarter. Barlee ripped off a 37-yard scoring run to tie the game at 21, but Mancuso and Fuller connected on a 4-yard score to send Richmond into the final quarter with a 28-21 lead.

Smith evened the score at 28 with a 9-yard TD run with 11:45 left to play, setting up Ayo-Durojaiye’s game-winning score with just under 9 minutes remaining. Richmond punted four times and had a drive end with an interception in the second half. Smith hit 20 of 28 pass attempts for 235 yards.