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November 12, 2011

Down to 3rd QB, Colonials fall to Wagner

This was not supposed to be a varsity year for Tyler Forbes. Officially the third string quarterback, Forbes spent most of his time observing the varsity group in practice while playing on Mondays with the junior varsity group.

But due to injuries to Jeff Sinclair and Matt Layman, Forbes found himself trying to lead a comeback for Robert Morris on Saturday. Forbes led a valiant effort, including two touchdown drives, but Robert Morris still fell short, losing 38-17 at Joe Walton Stadium.

"It's been that kind of year. They come along if you stay in the game long enough," head coach Joe Walton said. "The injuries we've had, the mistakes we've made over the season, I only hope some of the younger guys are learning from this because you just can't do all the things we're doing and expect to win a football game, especially when you're banged up."

Wagner's Dominique Williams scored three first half touchdowns and it looked as if Wagner would roll early. Williams had 100 yards by halftime, and his 56-yard touchdown run was an early knockdown punch. The score came on the first play from scrimmage after Robert Morris (2-8, 2-5 NEC) put together their first successful drive, which ended in a Greg Langer field goal. But Williams struck right back for Wagner to give the Seahawks (3-7, 3-4 NEC) a 21-3 lead.

Williams finished with four touchdowns and 216 yards on 32 carries.

"I think one of the things is the injuries to the defensive line," Walton said. "It's tough to stop the run when you don't have your people in there."

Layman got the start in place of Sinclair (knee injury), but didn't have the kind of success that the freshman quarterback had last week in relief against Central Connecticut State. Layman was 6-of-16 for 70 yards before being going down hard early in the third quarter. Walton said it was a hip injury but that the Colonials weren't sure of the severity just yet. If Layman can't go, Forbes will likely start against Duquesne in the season finale.

It's quite the turnaround from starting junior varsity games and getting the occasional rep in practice. Forbes had actually missed several weeks due to a concussion, and was just getting back into the flow when Sinclair went down. Most of the time, Forbes has been an observer and fill-in.

"This week is the only week I've had reps all year, besides camp," he said. "This is the first time I've seen, so I was more nervous than anything. I had to get that out of me. Once I completed a few balls and made some passes, I settled down a little bit." Forbes led two touchdown drives, including a 38-yard touchdown to Jamie Cobb. But he also threw an interception and had a fumble recovered by Wagner and returned for a touchdown.

"I think they did alright," Walton said of the two inexperienced quarterbacks. "They don't get enough reps in practice,, especially this week because I wanted to give most of them to Matt because he hadn't had a lot of reps. So Tyler didn't really get that many, and it's his first action. I think he tried and he did as best as he could."

Forbes' touchdown pass to Cobb made it 24-10 early in the fourth quarter, but Wagner rallied behind the fumble recovery. Deontae Howard scored on a 1-yard run to make it 31-17, but Forbes was sacked at the Wagner 12-yard line on fourth down. Dominique Williams ripped off a 79-yard run and scored three plays later to ice the game for Wagner.

ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at achiappazzi@yahoo.com.

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