|Robert Morris To Face Morgan State Saturday|
Robert Morris (0-2) @ Morgan State (0-2)
Top Story - The Robert Morris University football team continues a three-game road trip and closes out the non-conference portion of its 2011 schedule Saturday when it visits Baltimore, Md., for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff against Morgan State at McHughes Stadium. The Colonials are coming off a 38-7 loss @ No. 24 Liberty (9/10), their fourth straight loss dating back to the 2010 campaign. Against the Flames senior wide receiver Anthony Coleman finished with 165 all-purpose yards, including a career-high six receptions for 59 yards. Coleman enters Saturday’s game against the Bears with 2,521 career all-purpose yards, which ranks eighth all-time at Robert Morris. The Colonials scored their only touchdown of the contest @ Liberty when junior quarterback Jeff Sinclair connected with sophomore tight end Vince Mongelluzzo for a nine-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Robert Morris will have a bye week after taking on Morgan State Saturday and will close out its three-game road swing with a Noon kickoff @ Monmouth (10/1) in its 2011 Northeast Conference opener.
Quick Stat of the Afternoon - It’s been stated often that defense wins championships, and for Robert Morris, its defense already seems to be in peak form through two games. RMU has led the Northeast Conference in total defense in each of the last two seasons as well as three of the last five years and enters Saturday’s final non-conference game of the 2011 schedule @ Morgan State at the top of the league leaderboard again. Through the first two games of the season the Colonials are yielding an average of 294 yards per game, including a rush defense of 71.5 yards per contest that ranks second in the NEC. Opponents own six scoring drives so far this season that have resulted in touchdowns, but amazingly only two have been longer than 50 yards. Robert Morris already have had 10 different players earn their first collegiate start on defense through two games of the 2011 campaign, including juniors Mike Cook and Cameron Chadwick last week in a 38-7 setback @ Liberty (9/10). Cook started at inside linebacker for senior Jon Krepps, while Chadwick started in place of junior Ben Ridgeley at weak safety.
Saturday’s Opponent - Saturday’s game between Robert Morris and Morgan State marks the inaugural meeting between the two programs. The contest is the start of a home-and-home series between the Colonials and Bears, as Morgan State will visit Joe Walton Stadium in Moon Township, Pa., during the 2013 season. Robert Morris owns a record of 17-10-1 (.625) when facing off with an opponent for the first time, and the last time the Colonials had an inaugural matchup with a new opponent was Nov. 27, 2010, a 43-17 setback @ North Dakota State in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs.
All-Time Series vs. Morgan State
Head Coach Joe Walton (18th Season; Pittsburgh '57) - At the forefront of the football renaissance at Robert Morris University throughout its 17-year history is Joe Walton, who has built the Colonials from a fledgling program into one of the top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams in the region.
The one constant associated with the program, Walton was named the first head coach July 27, 1993. He started the program from scratch, completing everything from hiring assistant coaches to purchasing equipment to recruiting student-athletes for the team’s inaugural season in 1994. He owns an overall record of 103-72-1 (.588).
Walton’s fingerprints are all over the football program, and to prove that, RMU has played its home games since 2005 in a stadium that bears his name. During his tenure, Walton has led Robert Morris to the first Northeast Conference championship in 1996, guided RMU to a perfect 10-0 season in 2000 and in 2010 helped lead the Colonials to the NEC’s inaugural bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs with their league-high sixth regular-season championship.
“It’s hard to believe,” Walton speaks on how fast time has elapsed. “I’ve said this many times before, and I mean it when I say that this situation is one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life. It happened at the right time. Before this position became available, I felt I was too young to quit coaching, but I wasn’t anxious to get back into pro football. When this came along, it was the perfect fit. This situation was the perfect opportunity for me to continue to do what I like to do, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Under Walton’s tutelage, the Colonials have claimed outright NEC regular-season titles three times (1997, 1999, 2000) while sharing three others (1996, 1998, 2010). Walton led Robert Morris to back-to-back ECAC Bowl victories in 1996 and 1997, and in 1999 and 2000 he guided RMU to a pair of NCAA I-AA mid-major national crowns according to Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette.
In 2010, Walton added to his legacy by engineering the Colonials on an eight-game winning streak for a share of the NEC regular-season title and the NEC’s first bid in the NCAA FCS Playoffs. In the process he picked up his 100th career victory in the collegiate ranks.
Liberty Game Notes - Robert Morris slipped to 0-2 to start the
season for just the fifth time in the 18-year history of the program ... The
Colonials also dipped to 2-2 (.500) overall against ranked opponents,
including 0-2 on the road ... The attendance of 15,805 at Williams Stadium
is the largest crowd in school history for an RMU football game ... A total
of 43 of Liberty’s 122 yards rushing (35.2 percent) on the evening came
during its final scoring drive of the contest ... Robert Morris finished
with 117 yards rushing and 234 yards overall ... The Flames posted 355 yards
of total offense thanks to 233 through the air ... Kevin Fogg finished the
night for Liberty with five tackles, a pass breakup, a pair of interceptions
and an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.