Preview: Football looks to pick up first win of the season

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Preview: Football looks to pick up first win of the season

Nick Hedderick, Sports Editor

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LEXINGTON, Va. — After an 0-3 start to the season, the Robert Morris football team hits the road for their first of four straight road games. The first team to welcome the Colonials are the Keydets of the Virginia Military Institute (2-1). Robert Morris got the better of VMI back in 2017 when these teams last met, winning comfortably by a final score of 23-0. VMI looks to continue their strong start out of the gate, while the Colonials are eager to secure their first win of the new campaign.

A look at the Colonials

Homecoming might have been spoiled by Dayton (2-0), but the Colonials’ offense looked like a unit that was really coming together. Aside from a late interception, quarterback George Martin seemed confident and comfortable behind center. Martin completed 28 passes and also threw for two touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore located RMU’s other offensive weapons and allowed them to make plays with the ball.

One of those weapons, Matthew Gonzalez, could not be stopped. After having no receptions against Buffalo (he did not suit up against Kentucky State), Gonzalez returned to the dominant play that made him an RMU record-breaker last season. The tight end hauled in his first touchdown of the season in addition to his eight receptions and 124 receiving yards. Alijah Jackson made his presence known as well by rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown. Despite a fumble, Jackson was able to break tackles and pick up extra yards on several of his carries. In total, the offense racked up 447 yards and found the endzone in each quarter.

On defense, the Colonials allowed 392 total yards. A little over 150 of those yards came on the ground, it was the first time this season that RMU’s opponent rushed for less than 200 yards. Mason Gray and Izon Pulley both forced the Flyers to fumble and gave the offense great opportunities to score. The Colonials were not able to capitalize on said chances, and they paid because of it. If RMU can take advantage of the opportunities they create, they could leave Lexington with a win.

Scouting the Keydets

Following a 56-17 loss to Marshall (2-1), VMI managed to pick up two straight wins in the following weeks. Over the course of those two weeks, the Keydets’ offense has scored an impressive 94 points. The biggest contributor to that total is quarterback Reece Udinski and his six touchdowns spread throughout those two games. In last week’s game against East Tennessee State (1-2), Udinski completed 38 passes and aired out two touchdowns.

The VMI offense as a whole found success against ETSU, gaining 409 yards in total. Despite Udinski having the only big game in terms of yardage, the Keydets made sure that all of their receivers got involved in the action. Seven players contributed to the 311 yards through the air. Running back Alex Ramsey was especially impressive, he not only had two rushing touchdowns, but he led the team in receptions too. The versatile back needs to be locked down by the Colonials’ defense. Receiver Jakob Harres is another dangerous target for the Keydets, he had 79 yards receiving on 8 receptions last week.

Much like Robert Morris, the defense is a possible area of concern for VMI. ETSU accumulated 460 total yards against the Keydets, and they allowed 14 points in the final quarter and the game went to overtime because of it. Despite the win, they allowed over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. Even though they have a lot of skill on the offensive side, the Keydets don’t want this game to become a shootout against the Colonials. Players like Josh Sarratt need to continue their solid play and lead others on the defensive side of the ball as well in order to shut down the RMU offense.

Players to Watch

George Martin, Quarterback, RMU

Martin had his best game of the season last week against Dayton. He seems to be maturing and gaining confidence with each game. I expect him to use his momentum from last game in order to have the best game of his Colonial career.

Matthew Gonzalez, Tight End, RMU

Gonzalez made a statement last week against Dayton by creating space and getting open against the defense. He also made some difficult catches on third down that allowed RMU to keep their drives alive. I expect Gonzalez to be targeted often and I also expect him to turn those opportunities into another 100 yard plus receiving game.

Josh Sarratt, Defensive Back, VMI

Following a game where he had 11 total tackles, five solo and six assisted, I expect Sarratt to be all over the field against RMU. His ability to cover the whole field is exactly what the Keydets need to get a victory.

Alex Ramsey, Running Back, VMI

Ramsey can catch the ball and find the holes in the line. He is a fantastic back that must be watched closely at all times. Expect RMU to have some trouble containing him in this one.

Prediction

I think that both teams will find early success on offense, but that the defenses will tighten up come the second half. Robert Morris will need to play more disciplined after committing 10 penalties last week, and they must take advantage of every opportunity. Last week, they showed a lot of promise on both sides of the ball, and I think that everything will come together this week for the Colonials.

Final Score: 31-26 RMU

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