NEC Football Preview: A look at the Colonials biggest conference matchups

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NEC Football Preview: A look at the Colonials biggest conference matchups

Photo Credit: David Auth

Photo Credit: David Auth

Photo Credit: David Auth

Photo Credit: David Auth

Nick Hedderick, Contributor

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The Robert Morris Colonials (1-2) have wrapped up the nonconference portion of their schedule, and they now turn their focus towards NEC competition. RMU has eight games left, and six of them will be against conference foes.

Last season, the Colonials went 0-6 in conference play. All six of the losses occurred during their eight-game slide to close out last season. Some notable conference losses came against Duquesne (51-14), Saint Francis (36-7) and Central Connecticut (42-14).

As the Colonials gear up for conference play this year, they will definitely look to avenge last year’s losses. However, RMU currently ranks last in total offense and total defense. The offense has scored 57 points thus far, which is half as much as the conference leader in scoring, Duquesne (114 total points).

It is clear that something will need to turn around in order for them to achieve any success in conference play. Robert Morris has also had a difficult schedule so far with their losses being against Dayton and #2 James Madison. The Colonials gained experience against great competition, and that can help them against conference opponents. Conference play will definitely be intriguing this season.

Now, let’s take a look at some key conference games for the Colonials.

 

RMU @ Bryant September 22

The Colonials will begin conference play in Rhode Island against the Bryant Bulldogs (2-1). Bryant has the best offense in the NEC, they average 33 points per game and 442 yards per game. They trail only Duquesne in points scored, but the Dukes have played one more game than everyone else in the conference.

Quarterback Price Wilson is currently the best at his position in the conference. Wilson has thrown for nine touchdowns, which is more than Robert Morris has as a team this season (8). He has also thrown for 849 yards on the season as well.

The Bulldogs defeated the Colonials last season 42-17. Robert Morris will definitely be hungry for a victory this time around. It will be Coach Bernard Clark’s first conference game as well. We have seen his team take on big-name non-conference opponents, and now we will see how they do against conference opponents.

This will definitely be a big game, and fans will get a good idea of how the Colonials stack up against top tier conference competition. Keep your eyes on this game to see how RMU fairs against Bryant, and to see if the Bulldogs are the real deal.

Central Connecticut @ RMU October 6

Most teams schedule easy games for homecoming, but Robert Morris will not be doing that on October 6th. Instead, the Colonials will be playing host to Central Connecticut State University.

Central Connecticut won the NEC last year going 6-0 in conference matchups. This year, they are currently sitting at 1-2 overall. Their losses came to Ball State and Columbia. Their lone win this season came against Lincoln University, and they dominated them in a 55-0 victory.

Their defense and offense are ranked 4th and 5th respectively. CCSU might not be as dominant as they were last season, but they will still be a very competitive team. Their offense though will remain near the top of the conference as they return eight starters from last season.

CCSU averages around 375 yards per game, and they score around 28 points per game. This offense can definitely put up good numbers. Quarterback Jacob Dolegala currently boasts a 65% completion rate with three touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception.

Running back Enyce Walker currently has 146 rushing yards on only 16 carries this season. The offense for CCSU seems to be in good shape. However, the defense allows 367 yards per game. They also allow 27 points per game.

The RMU-CCSU matchup will be very interesting this season. Both offenses have their bright spots, and both defenses seem to struggle at times. Last year CCSU won 42-14, but this years game could be much closer.

 

Robert Morris @ Duquesne October 13

RMU and Duquesne is perhaps the best rivalry in this conference. Last season, Duquesne knocked off the Colonials 51-14 in a clearly lopsided game. Duquesne football is always a tough opponent, and that seems to be the case once again this year.

Duquesne currently sits at 4-1 this season. Included in those wins is a 31-26 victory over Dayton, who dominated the Colonials in week 1. They also have knocked off Lock Haven and Valparaiso.

The Dukes have the 3rd leading rusher in the conference in AJ Hines, who has 332 yards and five touchdowns. QB Daniel Parr currently ranks second in the conference in passing, and has thrown for 888 yards and has added six touchdowns.

To add to the stellar offensive production, the Dukes also have a top three scoring defense. They also sit in 4th place in total defense. Linebacker Brett Zanotto has 28 tackles this season and has found a way to shut down opposing offenses.

Duquesne is a solid team all around, and they have played well so far this season. Expect them to cause fits for fellow NEC schools. They are my pick to win the conference.

The Colonials will take on the Dukes under the lights on October 13th. The Dukes will look to dominate RMU once again. Robert Morris will look to pick up a huge upset win on the road on this night.

 

These are just a few teams and games to watch out for this season. It will be very interesting to see how the Colonials stack up against the rest of the NEC this season. This will be a good look to see where RMU lies in terms of talent when compared to the rest of the conference.

Stay tuned to RMU Sentry Media all season long for updates

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