Colonial Talk: RMU vs Sacred Heart (Football)

Collin Wilson, Staff Reporter

Final Score: Sacred Heart 26   Robert Morris 13

Top Performers: QB RJ Noel (SHU) – 21-40, 222 passing yards, 2 total touchdowns

WR Tyler Dube (SHU) – 4 receptions, 106 all-purpose yards

WR Kyle Buss (RMU) – 6 receptions, 91 receiving yards

Turnovers on Turnovers: Robert Morris proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot multiple times Saturday against the Pioneers. On their first drive, the Colonials had possession for only 15 seconds before coughing it up to the Sacred Heart defense. Nothing really changed the rest of the day. RMU put the ball on the turf a total of seven times and lost four. The Colonial quarterbacks also threw four interceptions in the 26-13 loss. Coach John Banaszak spoke on the offense by saying, “A struggling offense that doesn’t turn the ball over still has a chance to win the football game. A struggling offense that turns the ball over 8 times is going to get killed.”

Offensive Miscues: With freshman quarterback Tyler Brown receiving his first career start, it was expected that the Colonials would have some mishaps. However, most of the problems came at the snap of the football. Brown was credited with three fumbles off of mishandled snaps and in the second half, redshirt-sophomore Luke Brumbaugh took over having the same problems with the snaps that put the ball on the ground twice. Now, in this situation, one or two bad snaps may be overlooked, but after six the question gets asked of who is at fault, the center or QB?

“I think it was it was a quarterback problem. It looked to me like the snaps were there,” said coach Banaszak. Despite who is at fault, miscues came to be a big problem as it gave support to Sacred Heart in many other categories as well.

Time of Possession: RMU only had the football for 22:32 during the game. That allowed the Pioneers to control the tempo and tire out the stout Colonial defense. The lack of possession may have been shown in the final as none of the scoring came from the offense. It is difficult to put points on the board when the opponent is on the field 62.5 percent of the time.

A Game of Field Position: Field position can be an overlooked statistic at times; however, in this game it played an important part. In the first half, Sacred Heart started in Robert Morris territory four times with two leading to touchdowns. The Pioneers’ starting point for the game averaged out at their own 44-yard line compared to the Colonials’ starting mark at their own 31-yard line. RMU never began a drive on Sacred Heart’s side of the field. Allowing a team to drive only half the field is not a recipe for success. This situation could be at fault of the running game, which totaled at -7 yards that led to numerous three-and-outs. However, the issue that clearly sticks out again is turning the ball over and miscommunication. The Pioneers were able to score 12 points off turnovers.

Defensive and Special Teams Success: Robert Morris did not have a great day overall, but coach Banaszak does believe there is some good to take away. “Our defense again played as well as they could, they did a tremendous job of keeping this game close,” he said. “If it weren’t for our defense there would be 50 points on the board.”

The unit did perform very well beside the struggling offense and picked up in the absence with an interception returned for a touchdown by junior OLB Jimmy Masson, his first touchdown of his career. Also, the kickoff return team opened the second half with a 96-yard touchdown return. This allowed the Colonials to keep close in this game, but never turn the corner.