With 45-10 loss to Duquesne, Robert Morris finishes with worst record in school history

Justin Criado, Staff Writer

  With Saturday’s 45-10 loss to crosstown rival Duquesne, Robert Morris finished out the 2011-12 season on a six-game losing streak as their final record is 2-9 (2-6), establishing the worst record in the program’s eighteen-year history.

  Down to their third quarterback after Jeff Sinclair and Matt Layman were knocked out of the lineup with injuries the past two weeks, the Colonials couldn’t sustain any sort of attack as Duquesne shredded RMU’s defense to capture a share of the Northeast Conference crown with Albany. Although both teams finished with 7-1 conference records, Duquesne lost to Albany 38-10 Oct. 8 which gives the Great Danes the automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.

  “It was embarrassing to get beat like that and watch them celebrate after. We could have stopped that,” offensive lineman A.J. Dalton explained.

  On the flipside, the Dukes had their way with RMU’s defense as quarterback Sean Patterson threw for 240 yards and four scores on 17 completions and ran for a game and career-high 123 yards on 12 attempts. For three of his touchdown tosses he found wide out Connor Dixon who finished with five catches for 117 yards. With his three touchdowns, Dixon finished the season with 16, tying a school record.

  Just as the secondary was scorched, the front seven of the Colonials couldn’t stop the Dukes’ ground attack. Running back Larry McCoy carried the rock 25 times for 106 yards as DU finished the game with 253 yards on the ground.

  “We play hard it just wasn’t our day. We gave up big plays and fell behind early,” defensive lineman Steve Mitchell said. 

  The Colonials behind sophomore Tyler Forbes actually opened the scoring in the game at the 7:11 mark of the first quarter. Forbes found receiver Jamie Cobb for a 35-yard touchdown strike, but Patterson would answer in a big way, leading the Dukes to 21 unanswered points.

  Patterson threw touchdown passes of five and 12 yards as well as a six-yard pitch-out to give the Dukes a 21-7 advantage. 

  Greg Langer pulled RMU closer with his 27-yard field goal to open up the second half, but Duquesne clamped down defensively and continued to roll on offense. Patterson found Dixon for 45 and 43-yard touchdowns and McCoy added a nine-yard score as the Dukes captured the 2011 NEC crown.

  “We’ll be better next year. We got guys coming back and we’ll remember this season and how it made us feel,” Dalton added.

  The end of the season couldn’t come soon enough for the Colonials as it was evident throughout the year that they were inexperienced in several key areas. The running game was inconsistent as the carousel of backs included freshmen Duane Mitchell and Justin Brooks as well as sophomore Deontae Howard.

  The defense featured a whole new secondary and linebacking corp. as the defensive line saw its fair share of injuries including a season-ending knee injury to cornerstone Nolan Nearhoof.

  One positive looking towards next year is a team that was greener than most got the experience they lacked and can only improve on the misfortunes of this season. The biggest departures will be on the offensive side of the ball as tight end Shadrae King, guard Brad Rodgers center Logan Miles, and wide receivers Anthony Coleman, Jamie Cobb and Rickeem Jackson will all be lost to graduation.

  “We’re going to be good next year. It’s my senior year and I want to go out on top,” Mitchell concluded.