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September 28, 2013
LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) - Deontae Howard rushed for a career-high 100 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime to lead Robert Morris over Virginia Military Institute 37-31 on Saturday.
Howard's 16-yard score capped a sea-saw battle that featured several lead changes and a dramatic end to regulation. The Colonials got an early touchdown pass to Donte Jeter plus an 88-yard punt return for a score from Antwan Eddie to take a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter, but VMI scored ten straight points to cap the half with a 17-14 advantage.
VMI quickly stretched that lead to 24-14 in the third quarter when quarterback Eric Kordenbrock found a wide open Dane Forlines for a 34-yard touchdown. But Robert Morris refused to go away, and freshman Andy Smigiera - subbing for an injured Eddie - returned a punt 29 yards to give Robert Morris field position inside VMI territory with 5:21 left in the third quarter.
Five plays later, redshirt freshman fullback Corey Garry scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run to cut VMI's lead to 24-21. Robert Morris took the lead again early in the fourth quarter when Paul Jones tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Digby.
Jones set the pace for Robert Morris (2-2) by completing 22-of-43 passes for 321 yards, the first 300-yard game by a Colonial quarterback since 2005. But it early came in a loss.
After Robert Morris tacked on a Hunter Khaleghi field goal for a 31-24 lead with 3:53 left, VMI got the ball with one last chance to score and 1:34 left on the clock. Kordenbrock completed four of five passes to get the Keydets to the Robert Morris 39-yard line, and with ten seconds left, Kordenbrock took one final snap. He scrambled and heaved a pass into the end zone, where Matthew Nicholson hauled it in for the improbable tying touchdown.
Kordenbrock had his third straight 300 yard-passing game, broke his own single-game VMI record with 34 completions and became the Keydets' all-time leader in career passing yards.
VMI had the momentum going into overtime, and the Keydets picked Jones off for the second time in the game on Robert Morris' first possession in the extra frame. But Dillon Christopher missed a 34-yard field goal to keep the Colonials' hopes alive. VMI got the ball first in the second overtime, but once again couldn't get into the end zone.
And once again, Christopher missed the field goal attempt, this time from 27 yards out. Needing just a field goal to win, Robert Morris was content to keep the ball on the ground. Howard picked up eight yards on the first run and then scooted 17 yards down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown.
The victory came in Joe Walton's 200th career game as head coach at Robert Morris. Howard's 100 yards came on 18 carries, while Jeter had 112 yards on eight receptions. The totals gave Robert Morris its first 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game since November 3, 2001.
Linebacker Kyle Cooper had a career high 13 tackles to lead Robert Morris, which will play at former Northeast Conference foe Monmouth next Saturday.
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi and the Associated Press contributed to this report
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