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September 29, 2012

Langer's kick boosts RMU to first win

Senior quarterback Jeff Sinclair had a sense of relief after tonight's homecoming win, and it was never more apparent in his post-game hugs and joy watching the fireworks shoot off into the overcast night.

The Robert Morris Colonials (1-3) defeated the Lafayette Leopards (3-1) by a score of 31-28 on homecoming weekend under the lights at Joe Walton Stadium.

It didn't start off well for the Colonials when Sinclair, starting his second game since his suspension to start the season, threw an interception on the first drive of the game.

"It was a bad ball, 100 percent my fault," he said. "But if you're thinking about it too much, it's going to get in your head."

Luckily for him, sophomore cornerback Antwan Eddie picked up the offense by forcing Leopards quarterback Andrew Shoop (25-for-38, 268 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) into a rare mistake which took Lafayette out of a potential scoring drive.

Eddie had the tough task of guarding the Lafayette's leading receiver Mark Ross, who drew the attention of the Colonials defense with a 13 catch, 151 yard performance. Eddie said the game plan was to get his hands on Ross and thought he could have done better against him.

Robert Morris dominated the first half behind a balanced attack. Sinclair, after his first-drive interception, was extremely efficient with both his legs and feet. The Robert Morris offensive line only surrendered one sack for the game and was the key to the 185-yard rushing day.

According to Sinclair, throughout last week's bye week and practice this week, the coaching staff stressed that the running game needed to get going.

"As an offense, if you get the run game going, it opens up everything else," Sinclair said.

Evan Taylor was the star of the show with the running game, going for 94 yards on 16 caries, boasting a 5.9 average per carry.

"(Evan) is a tough kid. When we brought him in he was at corner because he was so tough," head coach Joe Walton said. "We put him at running back because we were kind of depleted and we tried him back there and I think it was a pretty good move."

Despite a methodic first half which saw the Colonials carry a 28-7 lead at half, the lead was quickly erased. Lafayette didn't try and force the ball down field but it instead used lots of short passes and a new-found running game to move the ball. Shoop looked for Ross often throughout the half and with 4:57 left in the fourth quarter, the game was tied.

"We had some dropped passes, some bad reads, and sometimes I should have stayed in the pocket more," said Sinclair on the offenses second half struggles.

Taylor had no explanation on why the offense became static in the second half. Even though they won, Robert Morris did not have a drive that lasted more than 2:25 in the second half.

However, when it was needed most, Robert Morris put together an eight play, 67 yard drive that was capped of by a game winning 33 yard field goal by Greg Langer. The key play was Sinclair throwing up a long jump ball for Donte Jeter, which he brought down at the Lafayette 35. "We had a deep-shallow, about 25 to 30 yards down field, and we try and bring that safety up and then we have Donte running a post," Sinclair said. "They had great coverage and I saw him down there and just threw it up and told him to make a play. He went up and got it and made a play. That was all him, 100 percent."

Sinclair went on to say that Jeter is a "great" wide receiver and will go on to be a great player.

Taylor said this game was all about getting in the win column and proving a point to everyone.

"We had all the alumni coming back, we had all the students packing the house, and we were 0-3 and this was going to be a big game. We had to feed off of our fans and show them the love and respect they show us out on the field. We had a chip on our shoulder and we wanted to come out and upset this team," Taylor said.

Walton said he liked that his team started fast and his defense forced turnovers, however, he knew who led his team.

"Jeff," said Walton. "Jeff played his heart out, he's our leader."

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