CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Bryce Perkins ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 185 yards and two more scores as Virginia beat Richmond 42-13 in the opener for both teams on Saturday night.
Perkins, a junior college transfer who arrived last January, overcame a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Cavaliers’ first offensive series with his legs first. He ran 36 yards for a touchdown to end the next series and then 22 yards for a score on the third series, giving a crowd that waited through a 40-minute delay for threatening weather in the area a reason to cheer.
The FCS-level Spiders, seeking a repeat of two years ago when they spoiled Bronco Mendenhall’s first game at Virginia with a 37-20 victory, got an early boost when Dale Matthews Jr. stepped in front of Perkins’ short pass and went 72 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Richmond mustered only 143 yards on offense in the first half and trailed 28-10 at the break.
Jordan Ellis added 146 yards on 20 carries and touchdowns of 10 and 21 yards for Virginia. Olamide Zaccheaus caught six passes for 101 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown, and Hasise Dubois caught a 20-yard throw from Perkins early in the fourth quarter to give Virginia a 42-13 advantage.
The Spiders, who gained 524 yards two years ago in manhandling the Cavaliers, finished with just 225. That included only 34 rushing yards on 18 carries and just nine first downs.
Richmond: The Spiders got Kevin Johnson back behind center after he redshirted last year, but going against Virginia’s veteran secondary was a tall order. Johnson guided the Spiders to two playoff victories in 2016 and should have an easier time making plays against other FCS-level opponents.
Virginia: Perkins played as advertised and showed off his not-going-to-be-caught speed on both touchdown runs. Zaccheaus also turned on the jets when he caught a short pass and beat the Spiders to the corner on his scoring play, and Ellis seemed to only get stronger as the game wore on.
Richmond drops back down to the FCS level as its hosts Fordham next Saturday.
Virginia goes on the road to play at Indiana next Saturday.
Follow Hank on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25