The Richmond Spiders headed into their bye week having lost three games in a row after their 2-0 start to their season.
All three games were winnable.
A seven point loss (34-27) to the Villanova Wildcats started it all when the Spiders had a 14 point fourth quarter lead with five minutes left in the game.
An 11 point loss (21-10) in Blacksburg to the Virginia Tech Hokies.
And a 20-7 home loss to Elon.
“We had a team meeting to discuss some of the things the captains felt we needed to go over some issues. We got some insight from the team overall and got various players opinions and where we are standing right now.
We wanted to make sure everyone was on still on board and we had the same mission at mind. We’re 2-3, we can still make the playoffs”, said Spiders captain, Tyler Dresser on the team locker atmosphere during the bye week following a third consecutive loss.
Unfortunately for the Spiders, this weekend does not get any easier as the team hosts the 4-1 James Madison University Dukes (JMU) on Saturday afternoon.
“We took a lot of time (during the bye week) to see where we are at and clean up some of the mistakes we have been having this season. JMU is a formidable opponent. We really need this win to stay on track. Having this bye week allows us to get healthy and better gameplan (for JMU)”, said Dressler on preparing for JMU this weekend.
Dressler added “We know what it takes to beat them and the leadership (from our team) will be critical.”
One player the Spiders will miss this weekend is starting quarterback Joe Mancuso who is still out with a broken index finger on his throwing hand. Beau English III will get the start.
“Our confidence is pretty high (with English III at QB). With Joe Mancuso, he was the leader of our offense and those are pretty difficult shoes to fill, but we have a lot support and in trust in Beau that he can get it done”, said Dressler on backup quarterback English III starting against JMU.
It’s been a long time since the Spiders defeated the Dukes. The last time coming back on October 24, 2015.
Dressler was just a junior then at Covington High School.
In his four years with the Spiders, Dressler has yet to be on the winning side of the rivalry.
If the Dukes prevail on Saturday, they will have secured its longest all time winning streak against the Spiders at six games.
Currently, this five game win streak for the Dukes over the Spiders is tied for the most consecutive wins in its rivaled history.
The Dukes also had a five game winning streak from 1987 to 1991.
“I think the most important thing for me is leaving this place better than when I found it, and big part of that is making sure we beat the JMU Dukes. With them being a rival and relatively close to home, I take this game extremely personally”, said Dressler.
Dressler added, “Execution is our biggest part (to winning). Our coaches have done a phenomenal job just putting us in the right place, but now it’s up to us to go out there and execute.”
JMU is coming off of a tough one point home loss last weekend to the Wildcats, 28-27.
The Dukes are a team that relies on the pass with starting quarterback Cole Johnson leading the way.
The Dukes have an average of 269 yards a game in the air, but will be faced by a secondary led by Aaron Gordon and the rest of the Spiders defensive charge.
One thing for certain is Robins Stadium will be rocking on Saturday afternoon in hopes of a Spiders victory over the Dukes.