Late pick-six by SHU breaks Colonials’ hearts


Photo credit: Katey Ladika

Samuel Anthony

Khaamal Whitaker was at the center of what was the most heart-wrenching, soul-crushing loss that this Robert Morris Colonials team has seen in the John Banaszak era. After a 21-14 loss to the Pioneers of Sacred Heart.

With the score tied at 14 with 43 seconds left and the Colonials on their own 20-yard line, the team opted rather than to send the game into overtime to attempt to drive down the field to get the game-winning score in regulation.

The decision turned out to be a fatal one for RMU, as quarterback Jimmy Walker threw his second interception of the game, which was taken back by Whitaker 46 yards for the go-ahead score with 12 seconds left, effectively ending any chance for a Robert Morris victory.

“It’s a tough situation, to play for one more play or go for the miracle,” said head coach John Banaszak.

The team played incredibly strong through the first three quarters.

Starting with the defense, which limited the best rushing offense in the NEC to under 100 rushing yards. The defense shut out the Pioneers while taking a 6-0 lead going into the fourth.

Nick Bisceglia, who has struggled through the recent weeks, hit both of his field goal attempts on the day, while Sacred Heart’s kicker Freiria had a kicked blocked and missed the potential game-winning kick in the fourth quarter.

Harrison Dreher had the best all-purpose game of his career with 204 all-purpose yards including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the longest return in program history.

“It was our standard kickoff return. We thought they would kick it deep and the kids did a great job of blocking it up,” said Banaszak on the record-breaking return.

The penalties, which were a huge issue in the team’s 51-14 loss to Duquesne, were cut in half from the 151 penalty yards from the past week.

It seemed as though everything was going in favor of the Colonials.

That was until the fourth quarter.

All of the Pioneers’ 21 points were scored in the fourth quarter. The team racked up 228 offensive yards and two touchdowns on three drives. The only drive which the team did not score was on the missed field goal from Freiria.

“Whatever we did for the first three quarters worked,” said Banaszak.

“But it didn’t work very well in the fourth quarter. They ran it down our throat pretty good in the fourth quarter. We’ll have to take a look at the film and see what we can find,” said Banaszak.

The loss drops the Colonials to 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in conference play. The team heads to Loretto, PA, next weekend to take on the Red Flash of Saint Francis in hopes that an upset win will turn around their season.