|RMU Opens Home Slate with Defending NEC Champs|
Albany (1-0 / 0-0 NEC) @ Robert Morris (0-1 / 0-0 NEC)
Top Story - The Robert Morris University football team begins its 2012 home slate this Saturday, Sept. 8, at Noon as the Colonials welcome Northeast Conference (NEC) foe Albany to Joe Walton Stadium. The Colonials are coming off a season-opening setback to defending NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national champion North Dakota State (9/1) that was played in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 18,769. Senior safety Cameron Chadwick posted a game-high 12 tackles to lead the Colonial defense one week ago. After opening with one of the top-rated teams in the country, the road will not get much easier Saturday as RMU faces the defending NEC champion Great Danes. Robert Morris is 13-5 (.722) all-time in home openers, and it will play a defending NEC champion for the 16th time in school history Saturday. Once it opens league play, RMU will resume non-conference action next week with a trip to Dayton (9/15). After enjoying a bye week, the Colonials will return home to welcome Lafayette (9/29) in just the second home night game in program history as part of the University’s Homecoming festivities.
Quick Stat of the Afternoon - Robert Morris is set to play in Joe Walton Stadium for the first time this season Saturday, and the Colonials enter the game with an all-time mark of 13-5 (.722) in home openers. Additionally, RMU’s home opener is also serving as its Northeast Conference opener in 2012. The Colonials are 2-0 (1.000) all-time when playing a league game as part of their home opener as they took down Central Connecticut State (42-17) in 1998 and knocked off Saint Francis (36-6) in 2003. Top performances by RMU in home openers: most points - 49 (vs. Butler - 9/17/05); fewest points allowed - 0 (vs. Butler - 9/14/96); most rushing yards - 282 (9/14/96 vs. Butler); most passing yards - 298 (9/10/94 vs. Monmouth); most total yards of offense - 466 (9/14/96 vs. Butler); fewest yards allowed - 113 (9/27/03 vs. Saint Francis)
Saturday’s Opponent - Robert Morris and Albany will be meeting for the 14th time on the football field Saturday, with the Great Danes holding a slim 7-6 advantage. It will be the seventh meeting in Moon Township where the series is tied, 3-3. Albany walked away with a 28-17 victory Oct. 15, 2011 en route to the NEC conference title, but the Colonials were dominant in a 38-0 romp the last time these teams met at Joe Walton Stadium. The average margin of victory by the winning team has been 17.6 points. Albany and RMU have combined for 11 NEC championships; no two NEC schools have combined for more league titles.
All-Time Series vs. Albany
10/30/99 - W, 30-20; Away
10/15/11 - L, 17-28; Away
@ Moon Township, Pa. - Tied, 3-3
Albany Quick Outs - This 2012 meeting will be the first time these two programs have ever met in September … Only three of the 13 meetings between the schools have been decided by fewer than 10 points (2000, 2005, 2009) … Robert Morris has averaged 33.3 points in its six wins over Albany but just 11.1 points in its seven losses … Cameron Chadwick collected a game and career-high 16 tackles in the 2011 meeting … RMU’s shutout of Albany in the last meeting at Joe Walton Stadium marks the only time the Great Danes have been shutout in their last 58 games … The team that has scored first has won the last six meetings … RMU posted a 34-7 victory over Albany in the final home game at Moon Stadium Nov. 6, 2004, the program’s first home from 1994 to 2004 … RMU and Albany have combined for 11 NEC championships since the conference began although the two have never been co-champions.
On This Date (Sept. 8) in Robert Morris Football History - Robert Morris won its only prior NEC game played on September 8 as Michael Walser's (2005-07) 36-yard field goal with 47 seconds left lifted the Colonials to an emotional 20-17 victory at Monmouth in 2007. The win came without head coach Joe Walton, who did not make the trip due to the death of his wife earlier in the week. It is the only game which Walton has missed during his 19 years at RMU. The Hawks jumped out to a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes, but RMU would respond. Erik Cwalinski (2005-08) hit Julian Ellison (2004-07) with a 43-yard pass to cut the lead in half, and the Colonials tied it when Jeff Link (2007-10) plunged into the end zone from three yards out in the third quarter. After the teams traded field goals, Walser booted through his second of the game in the final minute for the game-winning score. Robert Morris tied a school record for largest deficit overcome to win, charging back from 14 down at the end of the first quarter to claim the victory.
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 105-80-1 (.567).
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 - While Robert Morris was unable to come up with a huge upset of defending national champion North Dakota State in its season opener, there were still a few performances and debuts to highlight. Senior safety Cameron Chadwick led the Robert Morris defense by posting a game-high 12 tackles, including one tackle for a loss, and a pass breakup. Linebacker Mike Cook netted eight tackles, including four of the solo variety, along with forcing a Bison fumble inside the red zone, his first-ever forced fumble. Sophomore Duane Mitchell collected the first three receptions of his career while Evan Taylor started at tailback for the first time and rushed 18 times.
Defending Champs - When Robert Morris takes the field Saturday afternoon against Albany, the Colonials will be facing a defending NEC champion for the 16th time in program history. RMU owns an all-time record of 8-7 (.533) against league teams that won a conference title a year prior, including a 3-2 (.600) mark at home and a 2-1 (.667) mark at Joe Walton Stadium. Robert Morris has actually won five of its past seven games against defending NEC champions, a stretch that dates to the 2006 season. Two of those wins came by a mere three points, each of which was courtesy of a Colonial field goal in the game’s final minute, while a third came during an overtime session. The last time a reigning NEC champion entered RMU’s home turf was Nov. 6, 2010 when Central Connecticut State visited Robert Morris. The Colonials jumped out of the gate, scoring 21 points in the game’s opening 13 minutes, and tallied 475 yards of total offense as they coasted to a 42-24 victory. RMU’s all-time leading rusher, and current assistant coach, Myles Russ (2007-10) tallied 177 yards on the ground via 24 carries to help knock off the Blue Devils.
Saying Goodbye - With Albany’s recent announcement that it will be departing the Northeast Conference at the end of the 2012 season, this is the final time these squads will be meeting with a bearing on the league standings. In fact, with the current nature of college football scheduling in which teams schedule games years in advance, this could be the final meeting between the Colonials and Great Danes for quite some time.
Rank and File - Robert Morris played against a nationally ranked opponent for the fifth time in school history when it opened the season at North Dakota State this past Saturday. However, it was the first time that RMU has ever squared off with a team that sat among the top 10 in the country. In fact, NDSU entered the season ranked No. 1 in the FCS Coaches’ Poll and No. 2 by The Sports Network. The Colonials’ loss to the Bison dropped them to 2-3 (.400) all-time against ranked foes. Although Albany is not currently nationally ranked, they are garnering votes in both major FCS polls, including sitting 10th in the other receiving votes section in the Coaches’ Poll.
No More Zeroes - RMU was shutout for just the fourth time in the 187 games in program history in its season opener this past Saturday. However, if history is any indication, the Colonial offense could bounce back with a vengeance this week. Before last Saturday, the last time the Colonials were shutout was Oct. 22, 2005. The following week RMU hosted Stony Brook, the eventual NEC co-champion that year, and exploded for 37 points against the Seawolves. Robert Morris piled up 461 total yards of offense on 76 plays, averaging more than six yards per play. Drew Geyer (2002-05) completed 20-of-35 passes for 313 yards and tossed five touchdowns. Wide receiver Tyjuan Massey (2002-05) set a single-game school record by snaring four touchdowns in the air while racking up 131 receiving yards. Amazingly, all four of Massey’s touchdowns came in the second quarter in a span 12:17. Once Stony Brook had opened up a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes, Robert Morris came storming back with 31 second-quarter points.
Cam The Man - Senior safety Cameron Chadwick had one of the top games of his career the last time he saw an Albany offense across the line of scrimmage. In last year’s meeting with the Great Danes, Chadwick finished with a game and career-high 16 tackles, eight of which were of the solo variety. Chadwick’s 16 stops represent the best single-game mark by a Colonial since Alex DiMichele (2008-10) posted 19 tackles Oct. 2, 2010 at Saint Francis.