Another week, another loss, and another second half that featured a struggling Robert Morris offense.
The Colonials lost all hope of a winning season with a 27-15 loss to Sacred Heart Saturday at Joe Walton Stadium. It was yet another week in which Robert Morris started off strong but couldn't put together a combination that worked in the second half.
Sacred Heart chose to kick away from Anthony Coleman throughout the afternoon, and that gave the Colonials strong field position to start the day. Jeff Sinclair capped a five play, 61-yard opening drive with a 22-yard touchdown run, and Robert Morris had an early 7-0 lead.
Sacred Heart struggled to get its offense going early on, but a Sinclair mistake led to their first points midway through the first quarter. Niko Sierra jumped in front of a pass intended for Jamie Cobb at the Robert Morris 29-yard line. Robert Morris' defense, without Brad Banas and Andrew Douglass, stiffened and only allowed a 32-yard field goal.
Greg Langer closed out the scoring in the first quarter with a 36-yard field goal with 3:36 left in the opening frame.
Sacred Heart began to get its offense in gear late in the second quarter, using just four plays to go 59 yards to tie the game. Quarterback Tim Little kept it himself, scoring from 15 yards out to knot the game at 10 with 4:41 left. Robert Morris responded quickly after another short kickoff. Langer slipped a 45-yard field goal just over the crossbar to make it 13-10 with 2:01 left in the half.
But Sacred Heart needed just 1:27 to go 58 yards and take a 17-13 halftime lead. Running out of the no-huddle offense, Little engineered a seven play drive that ended in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Greg Moore.
Sacred Heart lengthened the lead late in the third quarter, as the Pioneers took advantage of two personal foul penalties against Robert Morris to help a six play, 64-yard drive. Cobb ran into Garry Coles as Coles attempted to field a punt. Then Cameron Chadwick laid a helmet-to-helmet hit on Rich Rossi to give Sacred Heart the ball inside the Robert Morris ten-yard line. On the next play, Little found Rock Tate for a seven yard touchdown pass to give Sacred Heart a 24-13 lead.
Mental breakdowns began to hurt Robert Morris as they tried to rally. Coleman, trying to provide a spark with a punt return, allowed a punt to bounce in front of him. Coleman tried to pick it up on the bounce, but it glanced off his hands. Coleman took a shot and Sacred Heart recovered the fumble. The Pioneers added a 28-yard field goal to make it 27-13 with 5:44 to go.
Robert Morris drove down to the Sacred Heart 9-yard line with 2:29 left in the game in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a comeback. But Sierra had his second interception of the game at the 1-yard line to kill the drive and seal the win. Robert Morris did grab two points on a safety when Greg Moore ran out of the back of the end zone as Sacred Heart swallowed up some time on the clock.
Robert Morris had just 81 yards of total offense in the second half. Sinclair finished 13-of-26 for 148 yards and threw two interceptions. He was also sacked five times. Deontae Howard led the Colonials in rushing with 55 yards on 16 carries.
Robert Morris (2-6, 2-3 NEC) will travel to Central Connecticut State (2-7, 1-5) next Saturday in a televised game that will feature the co-champions from last season trying to find a win.
Stay tuned to ColonialsCorner for more coverage from today's game, including reaction from players and head coach Joe Walton, video, and more.