Richmond's Cortrelle Simpson ran a slant pattern and caught the ball near midfield. Simpson shook off one William and Mary tackler and escaped another with a stiff-arm on the way to a 74-yard touchdown reception.
Spiders tailback Xavier Goodall ran over the right side, cut left and sprinted past defenders to pick up 46 yards to the Tribe's 5, setting up a touchdown.
Those second-half episodes illustrated the play-making difference between Richmond and W&M Saturday at Robins Stadium. The Spiders demonstrated superior quick-strike ability and, because of that, won 27-20.
There will be no FCS playoff participation for these rivals. Richmond finished 6-5 (4-4 Colonial Athletic Association).
"Definitely disappointing to not make the playoffs," said Richmond senior defensive lineman Brandon Waller. "But definitely a real positive ending after you accept that."
William and Mary closed 2-9 and was the only CAA team without a league win (0-8).
Richmond led 13-3 and 20-10. Two W&M interceptions off deflected passes on Richmond's side of the field led to 10 Tribe points.
"It's kind of been something we've been waiting on all year, for something to go our way," said W&M linebacker Nate Atkins, who made the second interception.
It was 20-20 with 11 minutes left, and then Richmond went on a 14-play, 75-yard possession to stick in the dagger touchdown with 3:59 remaining. On that decisive march, Richmond converted a third-and-17 with an 17-yard completion from Kyle Lauletta to Simpson (three catches, 121 yards), and overcame a third-and-14 dilemma at W&M's 15 thanks to interference on the Tribe.
"Huge," Richmond coach Russ Huesman said of the third-down successes.
Goodall, a sophomore, rushed for 180 yards on 23 carries and was named the game's most valuable player.
"We're usually better than that against the run," said W&M coach Jimmye Laycock.
Goodall said the Spiders often discussed sending their seniors out with a win.
"During halftime, they looked at me and (were) like, 'We need it,' " said Goodall. "I told them that I got them."
Goodall gained 107 yards after the break. W&M was led in rushing by freshman Nate Evans, who ran for 81 yards.
The 128th meeting of these programs brought together one of the CAA’s top offenses (Richmond) and one of the league’s better defenses (W&M). Richmond led 7-3 at halftime, but the low-scoring Tribe (14.5 points per game) had the form for which it was hoping.
Lauletta went into his final collegiate game as the FCS leading passer (351.6 ypg). He completed 13 of 19 for 221 yards.
Richmond came into this finale without its leading receiver, Dejon Brissett (shoulder injury). Early in the second quarter, the Spiders lost their second-leading receiver, Tyler Wilkins (leg injury).
"As we started to run the football, it was going pretty good," said Huesman, whose Spiders rushed for 202 yards. "It's just kind of how the game goes, and it was kind of how it was playing out."
Though Lauletta didn't have one of his most productive days, he completed his time with the Spiders (three years as a starter) with 10,465 passing yards, the most ever for a Richmond quarterback. After the game, Laycock made a point of finding Lauletta and congratulating him on a career well played.
"He's a fine player, but he's also a very fine young man," said Laycock. "And I just wanted him to know that somebody appreciated that."