Colonials drop season opener to Dayton
The Robert Morris Colonials lost a close one to the Dayton Flyers, 19-13, Saturday afternoon at Joe Walton Stadium, extending their losing streak against Dayton to nine games.
“We didn’t play our best ball today. We made a lot of mistakes and still had a chance to win the football game,” junior safety Ben Ridgeley commented after the game.
The revamped offensive line struggled to keep quarterback Jeff Sinclair of his back as they gave up eight sacks for 96 yards. Through the pressure, Sinclair managed to go 13-29 for 156 yards and one interception.
“We played well at times and sloppy at others,” explained senior receiver Jamie Cobb. “There were too many mental mistakes to overcome to pull the win out.”
In reference to Cobb, RMU committed ten penalties for 65 yards compared to Dayton’s six for 28.
The running back tandem of Duane Mitchell and Justin Brooks combined for 119 yards on 23 carries as Brooks also added two receptions for 19 yards.
Dayton took an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter when quarterback Will Bardo constructed a four-play 43-yard touchdown drive that was capped off when he found receiver Brian Mack in the end zone from seven yards out.
After a failed extra-point attempt, RMU took their only lead of the day in the second when Sinclair and company marched 71 yards in nine plays which ended in a five-yard run by Sinclair himself.
Greg Langer’s extra-point proved to be the difference, but not for long as Dayton scored with just 33 seconds left in the half to take the lead for good.
The Colonials’ last ditch effort came in the fourth after trailing 19-7. Highlighted by a Donte Jones-Jeter 54-yard catch, RMU used three plays to go 54 yards as fullback Jamar Cromwell gained the last yard for a touchdown.
“We’ll learn from this and move on to next week. That’s the only thing we can do,” Ridgeley explained.
After Langer missed an extra-point, the Colonials were still in striking distance at 19-13, but Dayton drained the clock to preserve the first victory of the young season.
Defensive end Steve Mitchell lead the Colonial defense with one sack and one tackle for loss as linemate Nolan Nearhoof added four tackles and a fumble recovery.
“It wasn’t all bad though, we had some positive things happen for us and we’re going to try and build on the positives and correct the mistakes and come back ready to play next week,” Cobb emphasized.
RMU will start a three-game road trip next weekend when the travel to Lynchburg, VA to take on the Liberty Flames Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.