WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Nov. 19, 2011) - Sophomore quarterback Brent Caprio threw a 2-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to junior tight end Nolan Kearney with just two seconds remaining to help the William and Mary football team earn a thrilling 25-23 comeback victory at Richmond on Saturday afternoon in both teams' season finale.
Although a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Kendall Gaskins gave Richmond (3-8, 0-8) a 23-19 lead with 4:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, W&M (5-6, 3-5) rallied back with a 17-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that culminated with the game-winning score.
En route to helping W&M claim the Capital Cup for the second consecutive season, senior All-American Jonathan Grimes was honored as the game's most valuable player after rushing for 205 yards on a school-record 39 carries with a touchdown. The impressive effort was his third consecutive 200-yard rushing performance and increased his single-season rushing total to a school-record 1,431 (breaking the previous record of 1,408 set by Robert Green in 1990). The Palmyra, N.J., native also set the program's single-season record for kickoff return yards (817).
Caprio completed 16-of-22 passes for 146 yards with two touchdowns, while he also rushed for a score. Senior wide receiver D.J. Mangas came up big with a team-high seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
W&M outgained Richmond by nearly 100 yards, (381-282) and held a significant advantage on the ground, 235-80.
After Richmond missed a 39-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, W&M got on the scoreboard first when Grimes capped off an eight-play, 78-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown scamper. In addition to finding the end zone, Grimes carried the ball six times for 53 yards on the scoring drive.
After an interception by Reggie Barnette gave UR starting field position at W&M's 32-yard line late in the first quarter, UR quarterback Aaron Corp threw a touchdown strike to wide receiver Ben Edwards on the following play for UR's first score of the day. The Spiders then converted a two-point conversion on a pass from quarterback John Laub to wideout Stephen Barnette to give Richmond an 8-7 edge.
W&M answered with a score on its ensuing drive, as Caprio threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mangas in the back right side of the end zone with 10:54 showing in the second quarter to give the Tribe a 13-8 lead. W&M's two-point conversion failed when a short completion to senior tight end Alex Gottlieb was stopped just short of the goal line.
A 35-yard field goal by Richmond's Remington Hinshaw cut the margin to 13-11 with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter.
Although W&M drove to Richmond's 19-yard line on its following possession, the Spiders stopped Grimes for a loss on a fourth-and-1 run with less than a minute remaining in the half.
W&M outgained Richmond, 207-137, in the opening 30 minutes and held the Spiders to just 16 rushing yards. Grimes led the Tribe with 133 rushing yards on 20 carries with a touchdown, while Caprio completed 8-of-9 passes for 68 yards with a touchdown.
The College had a chance to build its lead on the opening drive of the second half, but sophomore placekicker Drake Kuhn's 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jacob Pierce.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Caprio extended W&M's lead to 19-11 with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter, but the extra-point attempt hit the upright and kept the Spiders within a score.
Richmond answered with a 13-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that finished with a 6-yard run by fullback Kendall Gaskins to cut the margin to 19-17. The Spiders went for two, but Corp's pass intended for wideout Tre Gray was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete.
UR had an opportunity to retake the lead on a 34-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter, but the Tribe blocked Hinshaw's kick. However, a W&M player touched the blocked kick past the line of scrimmage, and Richmond recovered the loose ball at the 12-yard line for an automatic first down. Gaskins scored the go-ahead touchdown three players later, but Richmond's two-point conversion attempt failed.
Needing a touchdown to reclaim the lead, Caprio engineered the game-winning, 17-play drive as he completed 5-of-7 passes for 53 yards. Grimes also came up big with 31 rushing yards on seven carries. W&M chose to not risk giving up points on a failed extra point attempt and kneeled the ball following the score.
Richmond had one last chance, but Corp's long deep pass fell incomplete short of the end zone.
With the victory, W&M improves its record to 61-55-5 in the Oldest Rivalry in the South.