Preview: Saint Francis comes to RMU

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Preview: Saint Francis comes to RMU

Nick Hedderick, Contributor

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MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris football team (2-5, 0-3) will enter their game this weekend coming off a victory for the first time in more than a month. The Colonials’ four-game losing streak was ended last week after they knocked off the Central State Marauders (3-5, 1-3) by the score of 49-45.

This week, RMU will resume conference play when they take on Saint Francis University (2-5, 0-2). SFU fell to Duquesne last week by a final score of 27-20. This loss was the second in a row for the Red Flash, who fell 23-22 to Wagner the previous week. Both teams are still hungry for their first NEC win, and this weekend could be a great game because of that. Now let’s take an in-depth look at the Colonials and the Red Flash.

A look at the Colonials

Robert Morris captured their first victory since Sept. 8 last week when they managed to narrowly defeat Division II Central State. The Colonials offense once again did more than hold their own as RMU scored 49 points in the game. Once again, however, the defense struggled as Central State managed to score 45 points. While it was probably not as convincing of a win as they would have hoped, Robert Morris left Joe Walton Stadium with a victory. Now, they will try to start their first winning streak of the season.

The Colonials offense will need to click on all cylinders if they want to walk away with a win on Saturday. RMU ranks fourth in both scoring offense and total offense. They average 398.1 yards per game and score an average of 30.1 points per game. The rush offense is especially good, as the Colonials rake up an average of 172.7 rush yards per game. The duo of Alijah Jackson and Terence Stephens continues to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Last week, they became the first duo since 1997 to rush for over 100 yards in the same game.

Matthew Gonzalez brought in three touchdowns last week and has 10 on the season, which ties him for the school record for most touchdown receptions in one season. He is the main reason that the RMU passing offense averages 225.4 yards per game.

Quarterback Jimmy Walker threw for 162 yards and four touchdowns last week. However, George Martin came in during the third quarter and went 5-7 for 88 yards and a touchdown. Both quarterbacks played well en route to this victory. The offense tallied 539 yards of offense last week, this was their highest total since 2001. It will be crucial for them to play at this level again this week.

The defense will need to figure out how to shut down the Saint Francis offense. RMU’s defense allows an average of 561 yards per game and an average of 48.4 points per game. These both rank last in the NEC. The SFU offense ranks third in the conference in scoring, and the Colonials will need to figure out how to slow them down. Unless the defense can start clicking, the Colonials will need to continue to rely on the offense. Coach Clark is a defensive coach though, so don’t be surprised if he can pull off some big midseason adjustments.

Scouting SFU

Saint Francis has dropped their last two games, each to an NEC opponent. Their offense is very good, however, and some of their losses have come to some bigger schools including Richmond and Albany. SFU’s record does not reflect how good this team is. In their last two losses, they lost by a combined eight points. They even led Duquesne heading into the fourth quarter and led against Wagner late in the game.

The Red Flash are a dangerous team, as mentioned earlier. They are third in the NEC as they average 31.4 points per game. The defense is ranked first in scoring defense averaging 22.6 points per game. SFU’s rushing defense also ranks first in the conference allowing just 115.9 yards. Their passing defense ranks second, allowing a mere 187.4 yards. With a defense this good, it will be interesting to see how the high powered RMU offense fairs.

Saint Francis quarterback Bear Fenimore is a huge offensive threat for the Red Flash. He has thrown multiple touchdowns each game this year aside from the team’s first game. Fenimore has thrown 15 touchdowns on the season compared to just three interceptions.

Despite not throwing for big chunks of yards per game, Fenimore is very effective and gets the job done time and time again. The Red Flash struggle on the ground, however, they average 96 yards per game. RMU’s rushing defense ranks last in the NEC though, so this could be an interesting matchup. Saint Francis has a stellar defense but struggles offensively. This is the polar opposite of RMU, and this is why we could be in for an intriguing game come Saturday.

Players To Watch

Matthew Gonzalez, Tight End, Robert Morris

Gonzalez is now one touchdown away from breaking the RMU record for most receiving touchdowns in a season. He has been the most reliable target for Walker all season, and this could be yet another big week for him. He is also riding a wave of momentum after a three-touchdown game last week. Keep an eye on Gonzalez this week.

Alijah Jackson, Running Back, Robert Morris

Jackson was recently named the NEC Rookie of the Week for a third time this season. He has become a huge threat to opposing defenses and a huge weapon for the Colonials. He had his third 100+ yard game of the season last week and rushed for the most yards of his career gaining 153 yards last week as well. Jackson could potentially break through the strong SFU defense this week.

Bear Fenimore, Quarterback, Saint Francis

Fenimore has done an exceptional job this season. His 15 touchdowns are second in the NEC, and he continues to pose a threat to opposing defenses. Fenimore makes up for the struggling rushing offense by holding his own and leading the passing offense. Fenimore is the largest offensive threat the Red Flash have so try to see if the Colonials can stop him.

Jymere Jordan-Toney, Running Back, Saint Francis

The running back averages 53.86 yards per game and is yet to hit the century mark in a game. Robert Morris struggles to defend the run, so look to see if Jordan-Toney can break off for a few big runs and get things going for himself. He has a good chance to add to his mere three touchdowns so far this season.

Prediction

Robert Morris will be tested offensively this game due to the great SFU defense. Saint Francis has not done exceptionally well on offense, but the RMU defense ranks last in several categories which could lead to a big offensive day from the Red Flash. The Red Flash might average a lot of points, but the offense itself has not been particularly flashy. That could change this week. Also, look for the Colonials to break the SFU defense a few times. They have multiple weapons that can be used. It will be an interesting game for Family Weekend.

Final Score: 42-23 Saint Francis

 

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