MUNCIE — When the chips were down, Jordan Christian made something out of nothing—twice, in fact.
The Richmond senior quarterback found the end zone on a broken play to close the third quarter and later delivered a strike on fourth down for the clinching touchdown to propel the visiting Red Devils to a 19-13 win over Central in a game dominated by defense and plagued by 11 combined fumbles and 16 penalties.
On third-and-goal from Central’s 10-yard line and the score tied at 6, Christian floated to his right on a designed rollout, but was unable to find an open receiver. He somehow turned the corner and dove for the pylon as time expired and gave Richmond its first lead—one it wouldn’t relinquish.
“Their defense played it well; they played it well all night,” said Christian, who finished 14-of-29 for 156 yards. “But I saw some grass and I was able to find the pylon.
“It was definitely something I had to show a little athleticism on. I had one of their linebackers chasing my tail so I had to get out of the pocket and try to get to the end zone.”
On fourth-and-11, Christian connected with Dasean Jones for a 20-yard score to put the Red Devils (3-1, 2-0 North Central Conference) up 19-6 with 7:16 to play and what seemed like an insurmountable deficit.
“That’s the type of leadership you want out of a senior, and those are the types of plays we need him to make,” Richmond coach Matt Holeva said. “Big players make big plays when they have to, and he certainly did that tonight.”
Christian was hardly the only one as Torrie Mayberry, Kobe Walker, Alex Bradburn and Tanner Coyle led a Richmond defense that “held” Central star Andre Wells to 155 yards on 18 carries. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Coyle even had an interception after Central (2-2, 1-1) had recaptured the momentum.
Central’s defense, led by Vince Coleman, JayonneFoley and Brent Sharp, held Richmond to 89 rushing yards on 44 attempts.
“We both kind of came in with the same plan, sent a lot of pressure and tried to be aggressive,” Central coach Adam Morris said. “I think it worked well for both of us. They were able to complete some really tough passes, and we weren’t able to complete the ball at all tonight. That was probably the difference — they completed passes and we didn’t.”
The other difference was in Richmond’s defense only letting Wells get loose twice in 18 carries. Aside from a 90-yard score in the first quarter and a 34-yard touchdown rumble with 1:13 to play, the Red Devils held Wells to 31 yards on 16 carries.
Just ask Anderson how difficult that is. Last week, Wells went crazy for a school-record 281 yards and six touchdowns on only 17 carries in the Bearcats’ 53-27 win.
“He’s a heck of an athlete, a heck of a ball player and he got loose on us a couple times, but basically it was just a matter of doing our assignment and flying to the football,” Hoelva said. “There wasn’t any secret, per se, but it was successful tonight.”
Contact sports features writer Ryan O’Gara at (765) 213-5829. Follow him on Twitter @RyanOGaraTSP .