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November 9, 2013
RMU hammers CCSU to move into first place
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Robert Morris' defense turned a nightmarish start into a waltz through paradise, and suddenly the Colonials are all alone at the top.
Robert Morris forced five turnovers, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns, to steamroll Central Connecticut State 54-21. Thanks to Sacred Heart's 10-0 win over Duquesne, Robert Morris is now in sole possession of first place in the Northeast Conference and simply has to win its final two games to clinch its seventh league title and a berth to the FCS playoffs.
For a brief moment, it appeared the Central Connecticut State offense would have its way with Robert Morris' defense. The Blue Devils marched down the field on the opening series with a wicked blend of Rob Holloman runs and Nick SanGiacomo passes to take an early lead.
CCSU didn't score again until the fourth quarter, and by that point, RMU's defense had turned the game into a laugher. D.J. Myers kicked off the cascade of turnovers by pouncing on a fumble deep in CCSU territory. That led right to Paul Jones' 11-yard touchdown pass to Duane Mitchell, which made it 10-7 in favor of RMU in the first quarter.
After an RMU field goal made it 13-7 in the second quarter, the wheels came off for CCSU. Eric Lowry stepped in front of a SanGiacomo pass, tip-toed down the sideline and scored on a 38-yard interception return to make it 19-7.
Just 59 seconds later, linebacker Kimani Smith grabbed his first career interception and raced 31 yards untouched to make it 26-7 in favor of Robert Morris. The last time Robert Morris had two defensive TDs in the same game was October 25, 2008 against Wagner. Rolf Bathold had an interception return for a score and a Mike Landers had a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Robert Morris win that day.
Robert Morris wasn't done in the second quarter. Antwan Eddie's 18-yard punt return plus a personal foul against CCSU set Robert Morris up deep in Blue Devil territory, and just four players later Jones found Tyler Digby for an 8-yard touchdown to make it 33-7.
Field position led to Robert Morris' final score of the quarter, as RMU chipped away on a drive that began at the CCSU 25-yard line. Jones finally found Deontae Howard for an 11-yard touchdown to stretch RMU's lead to 40-7 at the half. The 40 first half points set a new program record for points in a half.
If there was any doubt to the result, Robert Morris erased it in the third quarter when Ryan Thermil went to work. Thermil carried six times for 39 yards as part of an 8-play, 48-yard drive that ended with his 14-yard touchdown run to make it 47-7. CCSU added two late touchdowns and Robert Morris tacked on a Kenny Davis 32-yard score to close out the scoring.
Jones finished 10-of-19 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and an interception while also rushing for 25 yards. He wasn't sacked on the day. Mitchell caught four passes for 100 yards, while Thermil led the rushing attack with 63 yards on 12 carries. Marcelis Branch and Luke Mueller also had interceptions, A.J. Holderman had his team-leading seventh sack and Brian Jones set a career high with seven tackles.
Robert Morris hosts Sacred Heart next Saturday in Joe Walton's final regular season home game as head coach.
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at email@example.com.
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