There is just something about big-time season openers that bring out the best in Davius Richard.
Against Alcorn State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, it was Richard — the unheralded quarterback — who used his strong right arm and gifted agility to guide North Carolina Central past the favored Braves a year ago in Atlanta.
Versus in-state rival North Carolina A&T — a team that had beaten the Eagles by double digits the previous four seasons and was the preseason pick to win the Big South — Richard rose to the occasion again when the lights were the brightest.
Richard threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more in the 28-13 win over NC A&T in the Duke’s Mayo Classic.
“For real, I just want to have a winning game,” Richard said after the game. “No matter how we win, if I throw for 400 yards or if I throw for 12 yards, as long as we win, that’s the most important thing to me,” “But I just want to commend the other 10 guys on offense that helped me get into the box two times and deliver two touchdown passes. I wouldn’t be able without them.”
Though Richard expressed humility in his own performance, the junior quarterback made timely decisions and throws all game long that made the difference.
Using his arm and legs, Richard helped the offense convert 10-of-16 third downs and one fourth-down attempt. On a pivotal scoring drive midway through the third quarter, Richards accounted for 43 yards on the ground and 20 more in the air, including a 16-yard TD strike to E.J. Hicks to put the game away.
“Like every week, so consistent,” Oliver said about the quarterback he refers to as “Pee Wee.” “He handled the pressure. They blitzed on almost every down, so he hung in there and delivered the ball. I can’t say enough about that young man.”
The dual-threat signal-caller also led the Eagles in rushing, with 54 yards, too. He was simply masterful against a tough NC A&T defense that dared him to beat them unconventionally.
“He’s just a very smart young man,” Oliver said about Richard. “He makes great decisions with the football.”