|RMU Looks to End on High Note on Senior Day|
Monmouth (4-5 / 3-3) @ Robert Morris (4-6 / 3-4)
Top Story - The Robert Morris University football team will play its 2012 season finale against Monmouth this Saturday, Nov. 17, at Noon at Joe Walton Stadium. Robert Morris won its second straight game, and third in four outings, last weekend at Sacred Heart as the Colonials scored the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. RMU had trailed 17-6 with fewer than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter but posted two scoring drives of more than 75 yards to come away with a thrilling victory. The Robert Morris defense allowed just one offensive touchdown, which came on a mere 41-yard drive. Senior weak safety Cameron Chadwick was selected as the Northeast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week after the victory as he posted nine tackles and a pair of interceptions. Brad Banas and Nolan Nearhoof recently were selected as Capital One Academic All-District First Team, becoming the first male student-athletes from any Robert Morris sport to earn that award in three straight years. As is tradition, the Colonials will recognize each of their seniors in a brief ceremony prior to kickoff.
Quick Stat of the Afternoon - In this past Saturday’s 21-17 victory at Sacred Heart, Robert Morris posted its most thrilling comeback of the season, but it was far from the first one. RMU scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minute after it had trailed, 17-6, with fewer than 10 minutes remaining. It marked the third time this season that the Colonials posted a come-from-behind win and tallied the winning score in the fourth quarter. RMU rallied from a 31-23 deficit against Central Connecticut State to win 37-31 and fell behind Duquesne, 13-10, before rallying for a 17-13 win. The 2012 season marks just the second time in program history in which RMU has won at least three games in which it trailed during the fourth quarter. The other similar season was 2000 as RMU posted three such wins en route to its perfect 10-0 campaign. Amazingly, in both seasons, the three comeback wins came within a four-week stretch.
Saturday’s Opponent - Robert Morris has met Monmouth in 17 of its previous 18 seasons of existence with the lone exception being 2001. The Colonials hold a 10-7 (.588) edge in the all-time series. RMU won six of the first eight meetings, with the two losses coming by a combined four points, before dropping five of the next six matchups. However, the Colonials have turned it around recently by winning each of the past three meetings with the Hawks despite scoring no more than 23 points in any of those games.
All-Time Series vs. Monmouth
10/1/11 - W, 23-20; Away
Monmouth Quick Outs - Robert Morris has won three straight over Monmouth and four of the last five meetings ... 10 of the 17 meetings between the Colonials and Hawks have been decided by eight points or fewer, including six by a field goal or less ... Jeff Sinclair's completion percentage of 75 percent last year against Monmouth ranks as the fifth highest in RMU single-game history ... In three career games against the Hawks, Sinclair has completed 68.3 percent (41-for-60) of his passes for 487 yards, five touchdowns and one interception … RMU has played Monmouth once before in a season finale as the Colonials claimed a 23-9 victory in 2009 … Only one time in the past 11 meetings has either team scored 30 points in a game (Monmouth scored 34 in 2008).
On This Date (Nov. 17) in Robert Morris Football History - Robert Morris will be venturing into new waters as it will be playing on November 17 for the first time in program history when it takes the field against Monmouth. However, the Colonials have played in late November before and have experienced a good deal of success. RMU is 8-5 (.615) all-time in program history when it plays Nov. 15 or later in the month. One of those eight wins came against Monmouth as the Colonials downed the Hawks, 23-9, on the strength of a defense that allowed just 192 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers (11/21/09--the latest date the Colonials have ever played a regular-season contest). Amazingly, only two of those 13 games have come at home. RMU is a perfect 2-0 in those contests, outscoring its opponents by a combined margin of 85-25. Saturday’s game will not only mark the latest date that the program has ever hosted a game at Joe Walton Stadium, but the furthest into November that RMU has hosted a contest since 1999.
Head Coach Joe Walton (19th season; Pittsburgh ’57) - At the forefront of the football renaissance at Robert Morris University throughout its 19-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 109-85-1 (.562).
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.
Last Time Out - Robert Morris scored the winning touchdown in the final minute and rallied from an 11-point deficit to down Sacred Heart, 21-17 … Cameron Chadwick tallied his second interception of the afternoon to clinch the victory … The RMU defense, which allowed Sacred Heart just 87 yards of total offense in the second half, also helped the Colonials garner more yards per play than their opponent for the fourth-consecutive week … Evan Taylor ripped off a career-long 65-yard run to set up a Colonial score … Robert Morris has now won each of its last two games at Sacred Heart in the final minute … Paul Evans’ career-long 41-yard catch opened the game-winning drive.
Cam The Man - Senior safety Cameron Chadwick earned NEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after leading the team to a win last week at Sacred Heart. Chadwick had a career-best two interceptions and also contributed nine tackles, a pass breakup and a half tackle for loss. Six of Chadwick’s nine tackles stopped the opponent short of a first down and six of his hits were also of the solo variety. Chadwick also teamed up for a big stop on a Colonial goal-line stand that kept the Pioneers out of the end zone.
Go For It - RMU’s game-winning touchdown in last week’s 21-17 victory over Sacred Heart wasn’t exactly routine. The Colonials faced a fourth down situation with 39 seconds left and were well within field goal range for Greg Langer, who had already made two during the game. However, head coach Joe Walton went for the win and was rewarded when Nick Groat made his first-ever touchdown reception.
Climbing the Charts - Robert Morris senior quarterback Jeff Sinclair is climbing the RMU record book in multiple categories as he concludes his career in 2012. With his two touchdown passes Oct. 20, Sinclair moved into sole possession of second place in career touchdowns responsible for at Robert Morris and currently has 72. Tim Levcik (1998-2001) holds the all-time RMU record in that category with 81. Sinclair is also second in career total offense (6,367), third in career touchdown passes (55) and fifth in career completions (423) and career passing yards (5,563) at RMU. His total offense per game average of 181.9 is second all-time at RMU, trailing only Levcik’s top mark of 191.4. Despite being a quarterback, Sinclair actually is fifth in career rushing touchdowns at Robert Morris (17) and moved into the top 10 in career rushing yards with his 84-yard performance against Lafayette.
Go Deep - Donte Jeter has a chance to join some elite company entering the season finale. Jeter has hauled in 33 catches for 607 yards in 2012. In doing so, he became the sixth Colonial ever to post 600 receiving yards in a season. He needs 93 yards to become the just second Colonial ever to hit 700 in a season.
First x 2 - When D.J. Pearson hauled in his first touchdown for RMU in last week’s win it also doubled as his first-career reception. This continued a recent Colonial tradition as fellow tight ends Tyler Digby and Paul Evans both broke into the end zone on their first-career receptions.