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November 9, 2013

RMU hammers CCSU to move into first place

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.

Central Conn St.: Nick Bacarella 8 yd pass from Nick SanGiacomo (Steven Calitri kick)
Robert Morris: Conner Shennan 22 yd FG
Robert Morris: Duane Mitchell 11 yd pass from Paul Jones (Conner Shennan kick)
Robert Morris: Conner Shennan 25 yd FG
Robert Morris: Eric Lowry 38 yd interception return (missed kick)
Robert Morris: Kimani Smith 31 yd interception return (Conner Shennan kick)
Robert Morris: Tyler Digby 8 yd pass from Paul Jones (Conner Shennan kick)
Robert Morris: Deontae Howard 11 yd pass from Paul Jones (Conner Shennan kick)
Robert Morris: Ryan Thermil 14 yd run (Conner Shennan kick)
Central Conn St.: Darius Lee 1 yd run (Steven Calitri kick)
Robert Morris: Kenny Davis 32 yd run (Conner Shennan kick)
Central Conn St.: Rob Hollomon 14 yd run (Steven Calitri kick)
Central Conn St.Robert Morris
Total Plays6263
Average Gain5.16
Average per rush5.84.3
Yards Lost-60
Fumbles Lost10
Penalty Yards7390
Time of Possesion27:932:51
Punt Average3433
Return Yards14598
Nick SanGiacomo1026106144.1
Paul Jones1019188319.9
Rob Hollomon2613115.0
Darius Lee789112.7
Nick SanGiacomo3-100-3.3
Ryan Thermil126315.3
Kenny Davis74616.6
Deontae Howard144002.9
Paul Jones42506.3
Phil Peckich61502.5
Tyrell Holmes563012.6
Nick Bacarella332110.7
Denzell Jones21105.5
Duane Mitchell4100125.0
Alex Caratelli237018.5
Deontae Howard223111.5
Sean Gavin120020.0
Tyler Digby1818.0

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

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