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Maryland vs. Richmond preview: Terps open season with top-20 FCS opponent

Maryland should be able to cruise to a win, but the Spiders have some talent on offense.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland opens the season Saturday in College Park against FCS Richmond, one of the last times the Terps will play a lower-division opponent in the foreseeable future. The game will kickoff at noon ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU and WatchESPN.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany banned conference teams from scheduling FCS programs, but allowed previous contracts to be honored. In addition to Richmond this year, Maryland will play Howard in 2016 and Towson in 2017 and 2020.

But back to the Spiders -- who are they exactly?

After a 6-6 season in 2013, Richmond won nine games last year en route to an FCS playoffs appearance. The Spiders beat two top-25 FCS teams, made it into the top ten of the polls, and defeated Morgan State in the first round before falling to Coastal Carolina.

Richmond coached Danny Rocco was on Tom Coughlin's staff at Boston College for a few years at the same time as Randy Edsall. Rocco was also the outside linebackers coach at Maryland under Ron Vanderlinden in 1998 and 1999. The Spiders won the national championship in 2008 under head coach Mike London, and rank No. 18 in the FCS preseason coaches poll.

Richmond Spiders

2014 record: 9-5 (5-3, 4th in CAA)

Head coach: Danny Rocco (23-14)

All-time record vs. Maryland: 5-12-1 (Maryland has won four in a row)

Returning starters: Nine (five offense, four defense)

F/+ ranking: N/A

5-year recruiting ranking: N/A

Players to know

Seth Fisher, RB, senior (RS), 6'2, 232. Fisher ran for 777 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and is a preseason All-CAA selection. He has good vision out of the backfield and can be an explosive threat in the Richmond attack, which will likely be focusing more on the running game this season with a new quarterback leading the offense.

via NESN

Fisher is also a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and totaled 16 touchdowns in 2014 (12 rushing, four receiving).

Reggie Diggs, WR, senior, 6'4, 198. Diggs caught 85 passes for 1,157 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and as far as we know has no relation to Stefon. Also a preseason all-CAA pick, Diggs was second in the conference in catches and yards last season.

Brian Brown, WR, junior, 6'1, 195. Another preseason all-CAA selection, Brown caught 79 passes for 1,089 yards with four touchdowns, ranking third in the conference in both of those categories.

Kyle Lauletta, QB, sophomore (RS), 6'3, 208. Lauletta has to replace Michael Strauss, the school's record holder in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns for a season, but he enters the job with plenty of weapons at his disposal. Richmond ran a lot of shotgun and pistol sets last season but are expected to line up under center more this year. Lauletta redshirted last season, but played in four games as a true freshman in 2013, completing 76.2% of his passes and averaging 5.1 yards per attempt.

Ayo Ogunniyi, CB, senior, 6'0, 193. The only returning player to start all 14 games last year for the Spiders, he recorded 55 tackles with three interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2014.

Peter Yoder, K, junior, 6'4, 180. Richmond's fourth preseason all-CAA selection, Yoder made 19 of 27 attempts last season with a long of 43.


Offensive playmakers. Fisher, Diggs and Brown all have the ability to make big plays, and this game should provide an ample test for Maryland's new 4-3 defense.


Physicality on the lines. Richmond has a combined five underclassmen starting on the offensive and defensive lines, with losses from the departing senior class felt particularly hard on the defensive side.

The Spiders' only game against a FBS program last season came versus Virginia, and to little surprise, Richmond was overmatched physically at the point of attack.

Here's the Richmond offensive line giving a runner absolutely no shot on a goal-line carry.

via ACC Network

And here's the defensive line, stood up on a goal-line carry and unable to make the stop.

via ACC Network


Maryland 37, Richmond 13. Fisher causes Maryland's defense some problems, but Maryland's talent advantage up front proves to be too much for the Spiders, especially as the game goes on.